Crime stats show increase in rape and sexual assaults

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By Martin Graham

RAPE and attempted rape increased by three per cent in Scotland last year, while sexual offences rose by two per cent, according to crime statistics released today by the Scottish Government.

And is some parts of Scotland the rise was even greater, with Fife soaring by 35 per cent and Central Scotland by 21 per cent.

But overall recorded crime fell by 10 per cent to a 32 year low with 338,000 crimes recorded.

Violent crime is down by 11 per cent.

Welcoming the figures, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: “Today’s statistics represent good news for all law-abiding citizens.

“I congratulate the police on their efforts to tackle all kinds of crime, particularly the bevy and blades culture that continues to blight Scotland.”  

Scottish Labour’s Justice spokesman Richard Baker said: “Violent crime in Scotland is still running at a much higher rate that the rest of the UK and further progress will need to be made.

“Only having a strong and well resource police service will deliver that change.”

The number of offences i.e. less serious incidents, increased by one per cent over the same period.

The largest increase in the offences category was for ‘miscellaneous other’ category, which jumped by 22 per cent.

The biggest number was in Strathclyde, which recorded 51,378 such incidents, the largest number from any Scottish police force and the only force where this category outnumbered the recorded incidence of minor assaults and breaches of the peace.

Strathclyde police have been criticised for setting targets for officers to issue on-the-spot fines for minor offences such as public urination and drinking in a public place, both of which fall under the ‘miscellaneous other’ category.

Earlier this year, Andrea McDonald, vice-chair of the Strathclyde Police Federation said: “The public would be horrified if they realised the pressure officers were under to meet specific targets such as the number of visits to licensed premises, the number of stop searches and Asbo tickets issued for urinating, street drinking and breach of the peace.

“This approach can only have one outcome – the alienation of the public.”

 The crime stats also reveal a 24 per cent increase in the illegal cultivation of drugs, up from 609 cases in 2008-09 to 753 cases in 2009-10, reflecting the growth of cannabis factories set up by organised crime gangs to produce drugs for sale on Scotland’s streets.

 Local crime hotspots are also highlighted, with Edinburgh topping the table for housebreakings, with 62 per 10,000 population in the past year.

 Aberdeen comes first for crimes of dishonesty, with 482 per 10,000 population, while Glasgow has the worst record for crimes of violence at 52 per 10,000 population.

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