Recorded crime in the Borders and Lothians is returning to levels similar to before the pandemic, police data shows.

As lockdown restrictions have eased recorded crime in the region has risen from 4,304 reported incidents, to 4,779 between April 1 and June 30 of this year.

The data, collected as part of Police Scotland's Q1 Management of Information figures, show that compared with this quarter in 2020, 57 additional violent offences were reported in the district, including one murder – in 2020 there were zero.

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Deputy Chief Constable Fiona Taylor said: “While restrictions relating to the pandemic continue to have an impact on the policing needs of our communities, the effect is different compared to the same period last year, when the first lockdown had only recently been introduced and the most stringent measures were in place."

Serious assaults in the Borders and Lothians also increased in this period, from 57 to 79 reported incidents. Robbery and assault with intent to rob increased from 21 reports to 25.

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There have also been three fatal road collisions reported in the district so far this year. For the same quarter in 2020 only one was reported.

Chief Superintendent John McKenzie, Divisional Commander for the Lothians and Scottish Borders said: “The impact that the coronavirus pandemic had on this country cannot be underestimated and that is reflected in the picture of recorded crime we saw for much of last year, with numbers falling during much of 2020, as the public remained at home and unable to undertake a range of normal activities.

“The journey out of COVID restrictions has brought with it an expected rise in various recorded crime figures. However, I want to assure our communities that the Lothians and Scottish Borders remains a safe place to live, work and visit and, as DCC Taylor has eluded to, our first quarter data should not be compared in the same context as to last year."

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The police figures show however, that detection rates have increased for this quarter, with 19 more crimes detected when compared to rates in 2020.

Mr McKenzie added: “I recognise that the return to higher levels of recorded crime can be of concern to the public and we must ensure that we continue to dedicate resources accordingly to reduce offending, protect communities and build on successful approaches to tackling crime trends.

“With that said, I want to thank my officers and staff working within the division for their continued dedication and professionalism to policing during the most unprecedented and challenging times the country has had to endure in generations.”