Edinburgh crime rates are 'highest in Scotland'

image copyrightRobert Veal

Crime rates in Edinburgh are the highest in Scotland according to a new report by the police watchdog.

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary found the capital to have the lowest rates of detection of the Scottish Divisions.

The report by HMICS, which scrutinises policing, is part of an ongoing process to review local services in the aftermath of the single police force.

It found Edinburgh had the most crimes per 10,000 of the population, with the lowest detection rates.

In particular housebreaking was an issue with last year seeing an increase of 20.8% in reports made.

Another finding was that confidence and satisfaction levels in policing in the capital were declining and below the national average.

Specialist resources

The report said Edinburgh faces particular challenges with policing, with 55 officers a day are being drawn from local duties to provide temporary cover for a range of additional demands such as pre-planned events.

It called for a review of the balance between local policing and specialist resources.

Derek Penman, HM Inspector of Constabulary, said: "We have taken the view that many of the issues affecting Edinburgh division have arisen because of the specific challenges that come with being the capital city.

"The single force has provided greater access to specialist support and has provided additional officers to assist in meeting these challenges.

"However I believe there is now a need for Police Scotland to review the balance between local policing and specialist resources to ensure there are sufficient officers within response and community policing roles across the division."

Mr Penman said the positive trends across Scotland of reducing crime levels and improved detection rates were "not mirrored in Edinburgh".

"However these challenges around performance existed before the creation of Police Scotland; and the reasons for them are complex and examined in our report," he added.

Ch Supt Mark Williams, of Police Scotland's Edinburgh division, said: "We've already made real advances to address issues such as housebreaking and, since our specific operation to tackle the issue launched early in 2015, we have halved the number of break-ins per month and doubled our detection rates.

"We have also seen a reduction in violent crime of over 18% against the five year average with robberies alone down over 28%.

"Theft is a real focus for local policing teams and overall it has reduced by 12% against a five year average with motor vehicle thefts down over 26% in the last year alone."

He added: "We are not complacent and will continue to focus on reducing antisocial behaviour and violence fuelled by alcohol in the city."

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