As Police Scotland celebrates its first anniversary this week, figures continue to surface detailing the progress made since the creation of the force last April. Chief Superintendent Julian Innes, divisional commander for the Highlands and Islands, expressed great satisfaction with the results. During a meeting of the Scottish Police Authority Board, he described the past year as a period of great challenges but also great excitement, and highlighted the persistent decline in crime rates.
Innes pointed out that the local crime rate had dropped by 5.6% compared to 2012/2013, with the number of victims falling by 426. Particularly impressive is the reduction in the violent crime rate and the progress made on serious assaults: their number shrank by 66% – from 180 to 60.
Innes went on to mention that Police Scotland was committed to maintaining this progress and a number of campaigns have been launched nationally and locally to tackle specific crimes. Acts of violence are the target of Operation Respect, while Operation Ram focuses on serious and organised crime, with a specific focus on drug dealing. There is also Operation RAC, which targets acquisitive crime and Operation Route addresses the problem of travelling criminals and road safety.
The Highlands and Islands commander said he was particularly pleased that the police and local councils were acting in partnership to tackle crime. The top priority at present is the reduction of serious and fatal car crashes; in a bid to promote road safety, the local force has added more road policing officers and a new trunk road policing unit has been set up in Fort William, Innes said.