THE North East detection rate for break-ins to secure areas “plummeted” in the spring – prompting further warnings about police resources in the region.
Police Scotland divisional figures state the detection rate for theft by opening lockfast places dropped from 42.1% at the start of the last financial year to just 7.7% at the start of 2023/2024.
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It comes after First Minister Humza Yousaf dismissed claims residents will be used as “guinea pigs” in a pilot scheme meaning officers will not investigate some offences.
But Police Scotland said later that service levels in some areas “will reduce” and that response times may “take longer”, after falls in funding forced it to cut more than 600 officers. North East division lost 39 of those in the last year.
And the Scottish Police Authority watchdog has already acknowledged that “in the current economic climate, with reduced budget, reducing resources and increasing demand, it is likely that policing performance will be impacted.”
North East region MSP Liam Kerr said the local force is being asked to do “too much with too little” and the new 101 trial will be closely monitored for any further impact on crime detection rates.
The Scottish Conservative added: “Theft from secured property is a problem that affects the whole of the North East – whether that’s from a safe in an Aberdeen shop, a caravan in Braemar or farm cabins in the Mearns. In the city, towns and rural areas, theft is a worry.
“Now, it’s clear from the 101 trial that local officers will be concentrating on more serious crimes where there’s a risk to people. In an environment where the SNP government has cut policing budgets and caused alarm in the force, it’s obvious why this is. They’re trying their best to do a good job with shrinking resources.
“But theft is also serious, and victims of crime need to know their property is safe. Under this pilot, detection rates which have plummeted can’t reduce any further.
“Being asked to do too much with too little is at the heart of the problem, and that’s why I’ve asked Angela Constance to explain how he’s going to support 101, so all crimes and their victims get the right response from police.”