SNP - Tom Wills

Emergency services / Spate of vandalism concerns police chief

CONCERN has been raised by Shetland’s police chief about the number of vandalism offences reported in the last couple of months.

Shetland’s chief inspector Lindsay Tulloch. Photo: Shetland News

Chief inspector Lindsay Tulloch told members of Shetland’s community safety and resilience board on Wednesday that there had been about 20 instances reported since the start of April, mainly in Lerwick.

He said this largely related to vandalism to vehicles with no clear motive, and that the damage was usually caused at night after the pubs and clubs shut – meaning they can be hard to detect.

Tulloch said it has caused “significant distress” to those affected.

“I’m quite concerned about that, as we need to look at ways to prevent that kind of thing happening,” he said.

“Nobody sees it in the middle of the night.”

Tulloch also revealed that since the start of April there had been a spate of reports of shoplifting of alcohol from one particular licensed premises, with investigations ongoing.

The Shetland area commander also presented figures for 2018/19, with Tulloch confirming there had been no fatal road accidents during the period.

There was a 45 per cent increase in the number of licensed premises checks to 2,161, with the police saying that correlated with a reduction in violence.

Figures showed there were 113 occurrences of common assault in 2018/19, a reduction of eight on the previous year.

Instances of reported domestic abuse was down by ten to 49, and sexual crimes were up by 16 to 48. The latter figure also included reporting of non-recent incidents.

Hate crime rose from one in 2017/18 to eight in 2018/19, but caution was stressed over extrapolating a trend from the 87.5 per cent surge in detection due to the small numbers.

There were two more charges of drugs related offences, bringing the total in 2018/19 to 104, while during the year packages were intercepted prior to delivery on 13 occasions.

A total of 9,762 people were scanned by the Dogs Against Drugs team after they entered Shetland, with the canines assisting with 48 detections.

South mainland councillor Allison Duncan asked Tulloch how serious ‘County Lines’ – when criminals in the drug trade from major cities set up a base in a rural location and take over the home of a vulnerable person – is in Shetland.

The police chief said Shetland has been “targeted by organised crime groups” for years, and encouraged anyone with concerns to get in touch with officers.

Tulloch also reassured Duncan that a national trend relating to knife crime in public has not been seen in Shetland.

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