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Shetland hits 10-year high for number of recorded sexual crimes, while overall crime declines

Total recorded crime in Scotland has fallen by 24% in ten years

Shetland has hit its highest number of recorded sexual crimes for a decade, with cases increasing by 124% since 2010-11.

New statistics from the National Records of Scotland (NRS) show the total number of sexual crimes recorded by police rose from 25 in 2010-11 to 56 in 2019-20.

However, the figures show crime in almost every other category fell between the start and end of the decade, with total recorded crime dropping by 33% from 726 to 485.

Crimes of dishonesty, which includes housebreaking, shoplifting and theft of a motor vehicle, halved in that timespan, dropping from 358 recorded in 2010-11 to 179 in 2019-20.

There were 24 cases of housebreaking on the islands recorded by police in 2019-20 – down from 51 at the beginning of the decade.

Only 16 cases of driving under the influence were recorded in Shetland in 2019-20, the lowest number since 2010.

Domestic abuse statistics have been included in the NRS release for the first time, after the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 was enacted in April 2019. Shetland recorded seven cases in the past year.

There were two homicides in the area in 2019-20, a significant number as eight of the previous nine years had recorded none at all, with only one other in 2014-15.

In Scotland as a whole, total recorded crime is down by 24% between 2010-11 and 2019-20, though the number of recorded sexual crimes has doubled in that same time.

The NRS states that at least 40% of the sexual crimes recorded by the police in 2019-20 related to a victim under the age of 18 – a proportion similar to the previous year.

Regarding the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown on the statistics, the NRS said: “This had a significant impact on daily living which also affected the number of crimes and offences recorded, to varying degrees.

“As these developments only cover the final few days of the 2019-20 reporting year, they are unlikely to have had a significant effect on the crime statistics presented in this bulletin.

“However they are likely to have a more significant impact on the 2020-21 figures.”

Area commander, Chief Inspector Lindsay Tulloch said: “Public confidence in policing was up by 20 percentage points during the first quarter of 2020-21. This increase in confidence means more people are coming forward to report crimes and it is important to distinguish that from the actual number of crimes that have taken place.

“Our national, specialist resources support local policing to investigate thoroughly all allegations of criminality whether in the public, private or virtual space.

“We will continue to identify victims of sexual crime proactively, including complex, online and non-recent offending, and work with partners to encourage survivors to come forward.”

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