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Crime figures drop as police give reassurance

Chief inspector Eddie Graham.

THE LATEST crime figures for Shetland suggest that one of the safest communities in Scotland is becoming safer still – despite a recent spate of rowdiness and disorder in Lerwick town centre.

Shetland area commander, chief inspector Eddie Graham, said the number of antisocial behaviour incidents have increased in line with the growing number of people working in the isles.

He is urging anyone who feels they have been the target of abusive behavior to report it to police rather than using social media.

Figures released last week show that the number of reported crimes in Shetland was 440 in 2013/14, a drop of 17 per cent compared to the previous year.

On average, 189.7 crimes per 10,000 population were recorded in Shetland – slightly higher than in Orkney and the western isles, but less than half the figure for Aberdeen.

Police managed to solved 326 of these crimes, a success rate of 74.1 per cent and significantly higher than the highlands and islands-wide detection rate of 64.3 per cent.

The number violent and sexual crimes have dropped most significantly in the isles during 2013/14, down by 55 and 53.8 per cent respectively.

There was, however, an increase in crimes of dishonesty by 15.3 per cent, particular house breaking which has more than doubled from 11 to 25 cases last year.

Of those, the Christmas break-ins to rural garages remain still unresolved.

Graham said: “We have had a hardcore of individuals involved in housebreaking, and a number of them have now been through the court process and sentenced.

“Sixteen of the 25 cases of house breaking have been detected, other cases are still on the books and will remain live.”

The chief inspector said he was pleased that the number of serious assault had gone down “significantly” from eight to four.

He said the force’s proactive work in being as visible as possible in the licensed trade is showing some results, as is its more targeted use of stop and search.

Although fewer such search (343) were carried out in 2013/14 than the previous year (412), the number of “positive” searches has almost doubled from 43 to 84, including 31 seizures of alcohol from youngsters.

The number of reported rape cases meanwhile dropped by almost 90 per cent from 18 in 2012/13 to two reports last year.

Chief inspector Graham said that in 2012/13 two individuals had committed a series of rapes, and both have now been reported to the courts.

With regards to the drunken rowdiness in the streets of Lerwick ten days ago, Graham said his officers had been conducting additional patrols.

“In total we hade nine incidents of antisocial behaviour from 4.30 to 9.30pm, which is more than the norm, however it is fair to say that these events were of a nature that didn’t merit to arrest the individuals.

“While there is social media chatter in relation to the incidents [and] people can be critical on Facebook etc., it would be more beneficial if they were coming forward and reporting these crimes.

“We have to be mindful that there was disorder and as a community we should not tolerate disorder in any way, shape or form.

“However not every one of these employees was involved in that disorder, it was down to a minority of individuals.

“Communities are becoming safer, but it is still about the public reporting crimes and offences when they happen,” he said.

The details statistics broken down for every local authority area can be found here.