Violent crime in Angus has fallen, the Angus Police and Fire and Rescue subcommittee was told yesterday (Thursday).
Violent crime reduced by 25 per cent compared to a five year average, resulting in 24 less victims.
The committee also heard that there had been a 44 per cent reduction in attempted murder (four fewer victims) and a 20 per cent reduction in serious assaults (eight fewer victims).
The figures cover the first 10 months of Police Scotland, with figures from April 1, 2013 to January 31, 2014, being compared to the previous five year average.
Other figures from the first 10 months indicate that common assault has also seen a reduction of 55 victims this year.
Acquisitive crime continues to be a concern in Angus with the number of crimes similar to previous years but detection rates falling.
Chief Inspector Gordon Milne, Local Area Commander, acknowledged the excellent work carried out in the Brechin, Edzell and Montrose areas targeted at reducing rural property crimes.
He said: “Crimes of any description committed in rural areas pose a considerable challenge for investigators but we do the best we can to detect them when they are made known. We know that by helping rural communities to protect their premises, belongings and machinery it has a significant impact on crime figures and this is a main strand of our approach in Angus to tackle this issue. Community officers and Special Constables are always eager to visit, talk and provide as much assistance as possible to help communities be resilient and watchful.”
There was a reduction in vandalism in the county, with 707 crimes reported, a decrease of 38 per cent compared to the five year average.
The committee were also told that offences in relation to domestic abuse had risen by 30 per cent over the period and sexual crimes by some 94 per cent. It was explained to the committee that the rise in these crime types was seen as positive due to confidence in people reporting sexual crime and thorough investigations of sexual and domestic abuse crime. Detection rates for sexual offences within Angus remains at 76 per cent.
Chief Superintendent Hamish MacPherson, Tayside Divisional Commander, commented: “I am very pleased to present this report to the Angus Police and Fire Subcommittee and proud of the officers and staff within Angus who have worked tirelessly to prevent and detect crime in this area.
“Angus remains one of the safest places to live and this is borne out by the large reductions in offences which we have seen across all categories of crime.
“Sadly we are still seeing increases in reporting of crimes of domestic abuse and sexual assault and this will remain a focus for my officers over the coming year.
“Everybody has the right to feel secure in their own homes and safe from their partner but sadly with 932 cases of domestic abuse reported in Angus this year this is not the case.
“Despite being notoriously difficult crimes to solve, as they tend to be committed behind closed doors, every opportunity to detect is explored and my officers have achieved a detection rate in excess of 78 per cent.
“We work tirelessly to protect the victims and this will remain my officers’ focus.”
The committee was told that road safety is a priority for Police Scotland, and for the communities of Angus.
Members were told that there had been six fewer people killed or seriously injured in Angus compared to the five year average and 50 less people slightly injured as a result of road traffic accidents.
However, there have been significant increases in the number of driving related offenses, with a 227 per cent increase in people charged with speeding, 441 per cent increase for people not wearing seat belts and a 452 per cent increase in mobile phone usages.
Chief Superintendent MacPherson added: “I make no apology for my officers continuing to focus on these offences because we are acutely aware that many more people die or are seriously injured on our roads than through any other type of activity that comes to my attention.
“I am disappointed that so many people continue to flout the law in this area. The facts are simple; if you drive at the speed limit, wear your seatbelt and do not use your mobile phone when driving, you will significantly reduce the chances of killing yourself or anybody else.”