Highlands & Islands
 Safest In UK

22 August 2001

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The North of Scotland Is the Safest Place to Live In the UK


The Northern Constabulary Public Performance Report (formerly Chief Constable's Annual Report) is due to be launched at the Northern Joint Police Board Meeting at the Council Chambers on Thursday 23rd August. The outgoing Chief Constable, Bill Robertson will hold his final press conference at Police Headquarters at 1500h on Wednesday 22nd August.  The Chief Constable leaves the Force with a commendable detection rate of 58.4% with an average for the rest of the country standing at 44%, Northern Constabulary continuing to be the safest place to live in the UK. Detection rates in Scotland vary widely and in the first quarter of 2001, the Force achieved an enviable figure of 61%. 

The total number of crimes recorded per 10,000 population was 476 whilst the
rest of Scotland came in at 918.  Crime and offences which are of most concern to the public such as drunkenness, petty assault and breach of the peace have all declined in recent years and in particular drunkenness has gone from 1,091 in 1996 to 867 in the year under review.  In all four constituent parts of the Force area, crimes of domestic housebreaking were lower that in any other part of Scotland. The highest area in Scotland shows a figure of 89 per 10,000 population compared with the Highlands and Islands where the figure was 19 and Orkney where the figure was three. Vandalism was recorded at 146 per 10,000 with the rest of Scotland recording 211 per 10,000.  It was unfortunate to note, however, that crime in Northern Constabulary increased by 6.9% with the biggest percentage rises in crimes against the person (known as Class 1 Crimes) where there was an increase of 35% and in crimes of vandalism (known as a Class 4 Crime), despite being the lowest in Scotland, showed an increase of 26%.

The Force continues to promote the Goal Statement "To make a positive contribution to the well-being of the Highlands and Islands through a problem solving approach to community policing" and re-inforced the ongoing commitment to the deployment of staff across the whole of the Force area, encouraging staff to generate effective partnerships with other agencies, with particular emphasis on the relationship with constituent local authorities. To enhance this, the secondment of police officers to all four local authorities continued to support their role in promoting community safety. With regard to capital assets, the force's commitment to providing a high quality service was further demonstrated by the major refurbishment programme in Lerwick and the approvals which will allow for the buildings of new police stations in Kirkwall and Wick as well as Mallaig, Kingussie and Grantown-on-Spey ensuring that policing in the Highlands and Islands is supported by the highest quality of modern facilities. 

Retiring Chief Constable, Bill Robertson is delighted to report that he leaves a force that has a rising detection rate and that has recently been highly commended by the HMIC.

Accepting the praise on behalf of all members of the Force, the Chief Constable stated, "Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary found positive commitment and enthusiasm among staff at all levels of the Force."  Continuing, he said "The Force continues to make significant progress through it's journey of change. This has been achieved by maintaining the high level of policing performance built up over many years, and by adopting progressive management processes which ensure resources are used effectively and efficiently."