The total number of recorded crimes in Grampian and Highlands have plummeted during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to police chiefs – but issues such as fraud and online child abuse continue to plague the region as figures have risen sharply.
Police Scotland’s north-east division experienced a decrease in the overall number of violent and sexual crime and crimes of dishonesty in the region between April and the end of September – more than 1,600 drug crimes were detected.
However, crimes of fraud increased by 45.4% in the first six months of 2020-21 compared to the same period last year – 83.4% above the five year average.
Online child sexual abuse is also up by 18.4% year on year – a 35.8% rise when compared to the five year average during the same period.
Divisional commander chief superintendent George Macdonald said the figures are “to be welcomed”.
But added: “I must stress that these figures were recorded during an extraordinary time therefore it is extremely difficult to make assumptions about trends.
“While crime levels nationally are returning to levels experienced during previous years, it could take many months before we fully understand the impact this public health crisis has had on crime levels.”
The Highlands and Islands police division also reported a sharp increase in fraud and online child abuse crimes, but also recorded one of the lowest crime rates in the country.
More than 1,000 drug offences were recorded, while 156 crimes involving weapons were detected.
Meanwhile, almost 4,000 people were charged with crimes including dangerous driving, drink or drug driving and speeding.
Divisional Commander Chief Superintendent Conrad Trickett said: “Identifying and protecting the most vulnerable people alongside our partners has been absolutely key and our officers, staff and special constables remain out in your communities helping those most in need and providing reassurance.”