by a Newsnet reporter
Crime and public fear of crime is rarely out of the news, but figures obtained by the Herald newspaper show that the crime rate in Scotland has fallen to its lowest level for 40 years. Police report that the incidence of anti-social behaviour, vandalism and malicious crimes has shown a significant decrease. 15,000 fewer crimes were reported to police in 2010-2011 than in the previous 12 months.
In all eight of Scotland’s police forces, officers recorded a drop in the level of crime, or no change on the previous year. No police force reported an increase in crime. The largest Scottish police force, Strathclyde Police, reported a drop of 5% in crime rates compared to the previous year.
The figures are seen as confirmation of the success of the SNP’s major manifesto commitment in the 2007 Scottish election to put 1000 more police officers on the streets.
SNP MSP and member of the Holyrood Parliament’s Justice Committee, Mr John Finnie, himself a former police officer, hailed the drop in crime figures, saying: “These figures show that putting more police on the streets helps to cut crime.
“Four years ago the SNP invested in 1000 extra police and put cash collected from criminals into supporting communities with activities for young people.
“That investment has paid off with crime rates hitting their lowest level for nearly 40 years.”
Mr Finnie acknowledged that governments always needed to do more to reduce crime and to ensure that a falling crime rate fell even further.
“There is always more to do to make our streets safer and with the evidence that putting more police on the streets has helped to cut crime we are prioritising the 1000 extra police on our streets, tackling the booze and blade culture and expanding our cashback for communities scheme to ensure more of the money from crime goes to support our communities.”
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