OVERALL crime has risen within the Lothians and Scottish Borders as Police Scotland makes hard choices to maintain effective policing within the funding available.

The Q1 Management of Information data was published on Thursday, September 7, covering the period April to June 2023.

This shows that the total number of recorded criminal incidents has risen from 4,484, to 5,031.

However, within the rise in crime comes an overall rise in detection rates, which have increased by more than three percentage points, compared to the previous year.

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The division has seen no murders recorded during the first quarter of 2023, compared to one in the same period last year, while attempted murders and culpable homicides are also down.

There has been a rise in the total number of violent offences taking place throughout West Lothian, East Lothian, Midlothian and the Scottish Borders.

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The overall number of sexual crimes being reported has risen from 268, to 369, including 15 more recorded indecent or sexual assaults. There have, however, been two fewer rapes or assaults with intent to rape.

This rise in recorded sexual crime can partly be attributed to an increased confidence in reporting such offences, with Public Protection Officers working closely in partnership on a daily basis to support those victims through the criminal justice processes.

There was also a rise of four percentage points in the detection rate for sexual crime within the division.

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Another area that has seen an increase in recording offending is acquisitive crime – up from 1,963 reports, to 2,126. This includes a slight rise in housebreaking, including attempted break-ins from 208 to 221.

Despite the ongoing challenges being experienced within the division there has been a positive reduction in the number of people being hurt on the region’s road network. The total number of casualties has fallen from 149 to 134, including three fewer fatalities and 27 fewer slight-injury collisions.

Chief Superintendent Alwyn Bell, Divisional Commander for the Lothians and Scottish Borders, said: “As T/Deputy Chief Constable Speirs has discussed with the publication of the Q1 data, the level of demand Police Scotland is facing is unrelenting and in the first quarter of 2023, the service has taken more than 600,000 calls from the public and recorded more than 420,000 incidents.

“The impact of such demand, amidst the ongoing limitations on budgets and resources is being felt all across the Lothians and Scottish Borders, as we observe a rise in overall recorded crimes, including violence, sexual offending and acquisitive crime.

“The Police Scotland Executive has made it clear that hard choices must be made in terms of how and where we prioritise our resources to protect key policing roles and this is mirrored within our division.

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“I recognise that the current rise in crime may be of concern to our communities, but I want to offer reassurance that we are doing everything we can to ensure we can still provide the highest level of policing service to the public and dedicate our local policing teams and specialist national departments to deal with crime trends that are identified as a policing priority.

“You can help shape the policing priorities for your area by taking our Your Police Survey which is available on the Police Scotland website at www.scotland.police.uk.”

The 2023-24 Quarter 1 Performance Report will be presented at the Scottish Police Authority Policing Performance Committee on Tuesday, 12 September 2023 - the report and associated Management Information is available here.