Tuesday 2 March 2010

More police on the beat, fewer crimes

Good news today on police numbers in Scotland; new figures show that the SNP Government has surpassed its manifesto commitment to increase police numbers by 1000.

At the end of 2009 there were 17,273 police officers in Scotland – 1039 more than when the SNP came to power, and 1272 more than in 2005. This record number is reflected in the Community Police in my own ward, who have been popping into my surgeries to say hello and keep me updated on what's been going on. There are a lot of faces and names to remember! They now cover smaller geographical areas, and are getting about on foot and on bikes to see and be seen.

It's not just my ward that's been so well covered - every single Police Force area in Scotland has seen an increase in the number of police officers. This is due to record funding for police recruitment under the SNP, and has helped crime rates hit a 30 year low.

I suppose in this context, the news yesterday that youth offending in Glasgow has dropped by almost a third in the past two years shouldn't be a surprise. Glasgow's Youth Justice Strategy Group has been diligently working away all the while when Labour have been screeching and fudging. The Intensive Monitoring and Support Service is an alternative to jail for young people, and re-directs them from a life blighted by a cycle of re-offending, anti-social behaviour and crime.

According to the Evening Times:

The number of under 18s in Glasgow identified by Strathclyde Police as having committed an offence last year:

Attempted murder, serious assault, robbery, threats – 343 (down 11%)

Indecency – 39 (down 35%)

Housebreaking, theft, fraud, other dishonesty – 1541 (up 3%)

Fire raising, vandalism, malicious mischief – 1209 (down 15%)

Possession of offensive weapon, knife carrying, drugs offences – 2476 (down 17%)

Petty assault, breach of the peace, consuming alcohol – 6782 (down 5%)

Driving offences – 396 (down 20%)

Total – 12,786 (down 9%)

Yes, that's right - instances of young people carrying an offensive weapon or getting involved in drugs are down a massive 17%. Coupled with the work being done by CIRV, I think that should be commended, and Labour should be ashamed at their opportunistic scaremongering. Of course there's still a lot to be done, but the figures show real progress. Well done to all involved.

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