New crime figures revealed

The number of robberies taking place in the Borders has almost halved in the past 12 months, according to Police Scotland.

The figures area revealed in new management information statistics, which cover the first year of Police Scotland and are compared to previous Scottish Government recorded crime figures, and which have been published this morning (Thursday).

They show that seven robberies were reported in the Borders in 2013/14 compared to 12 in 2012/13 - a 41.7% reduction.

There has also been a 7.6% decrease in violent crime recorded in the past year.

Chief Inspector Paula Clark, who is due to take over the post of local area commander for the Borders from Chief Inspector Andy Clark on Monday, welcomed the report.

“The reduction in the number of robberies and violent crimes committed in this area is significant and hopefully sends a message to our communities that progress is being made in our bid to tackle criminal activity,” she said.

When it comes to road safety, also one of the key priorities highlighted by members of the public in recent months, the Borders has seen a 16.1% decrease in the number of casualties on the roads in the past year.

CI Clark added: “A lot of work has gone into educating vehicle users on the dangers of committing offences such as speeding and drink driving, and that work will continue in the hope that we see another reduction in the number of road casualties in the area this time next year.”

Another of Police Scotland’s key priorities is tackling sexual crime, and the detection rate for sexual offences in the Borders increased to 75%, with 38 rapes reported - an increase of seven on the previous year.

But Police Scotland stressed there was a high detection rate of 73.3% and a number of those reported were historical.

CI Clark said: “For years there has been a significant issue with under reporting, which perhaps indicated a lack of confidence in the system, but we have made a number of improvements to the way rape is dealt with and this appears to have influenced the number of cases now being seen.”

Crimes of dishonesty - including common theft, shoplifting, house-breaking and motor-vehicle related theft - showed an increase of 9%, and Police Scotland is committed to bringing that figure down again in the coming year following the launch of Operation RAC, a dedicated unit to tackle such offences.