Concern over rising crime figures

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Concern has been raised over new figures which show a rise in crime in Dumfries and Galloway.

Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray and Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown both expressed worry at the new statistics.

This comes after a report to the council’s Police, Fire and Rescue Sub-committee showed an increase in the number of crimes from April to September compared to the same time period last year. The figures show that assaults had the largest numerical increase (up by 181), while murders (up 200 percent) and robbery (up 71 percent) saw the largest percentage increase.

Ms Murray, shadow minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, said: “This increase is of great concern and you have to ask yourself what is the main difference between this year and this time period last year. The obvious answer is the implementation of the single police force. The single force was meant to boost support for our bobbies on the beat. Instead, under the SNP, the concept of local policing is fading away.

“The SNP government has cut almost 1200 police support staff since 2010 and with the planned cuts to our local service desks, more support staff will be lost. These cuts have already resulted in a number of police officers moving from the front lines to the back office as they are having to deal with the paperwork. We need these officers on the street helping prevent and tackle crime.”

Mr Brown added: “While our region is still one of the safest in the country, it is deeply concerning to see such rises in our crime figures. These figures do not reflect the excellent job our police do in keeping us safe but instead the flawed policies of the SNP government.

“With the planned cuts to the local service desks and the concerns surrounding the future of the Dumfries police control room, I am worried about the long-term future of local policing in our region. Local people want a local police presence, not a centralised one.”