Alcohol consumption has played a significant part in the increase in serious and common assaults in Wigtownshire over the past year, said a chief inspector this week.
At the same time, drink driving offences in Dumfries and Galloway have dropped a massive 60 per cent in a year from 121 to 49.
A comprehensive report on Police Scotland’s performance in the Wigtownshire area was given to members of the Wigtown Area Committee at their monthly meeting in the County Buildings, Wigtown on Wednesday morning.
Chief Inspector Mark Hollis, the Galloway Area Commander, told elected members there had been 14 more victims of violent crime in Wigtownshire in the past year (April 2015 - March 2016) with 48 crimes, one of which was attempted murder when a 42-year old male was stabbed in the chest by another male in Stranraer in July 2015. The victim subsequently made a full recovery.
Serious assault had leapt up 70 per cent from 17 to 29, with 55 per cent of offenders under the influence of alcohol at the time they committed the offence. All serious assaults reported had been detected which the chief inspector said was “exceptional”.
There were seven robberies last year, up three on the year before. All the crimes occurring in Stranraer and all perpetrators were identified and arrested.
Petty (common) assaults were up 24 per cent to 388. Domestic violence accounts for one third of all common assaults and, again, the report stated that alcohol consumption has a major impact on the assault statistics. Police Scotland continue to engage with the licensing trade to address the issue and have recently introduced an ‘online’ Pubwatch scheme in Stranraer to allow licensees and publicans to share information quickly. An overall detection rate of 91.5 per cent for common assault has been achieved, the highest for any police division in Scotland.
The force says it continues to work towards reducing the impact of substance misuse by disrupting the supply, availability and level of drug use across communities. The number of detections for drug supply, drugs productions and drugs cultivation in Wigtownshire was up to 42 from 37, but the biggest reduction in this total was in Mid Galloway where detection statistics went down from 13 to one.
The number of housebreakings increased significantly from 57 from 32, with 22 domestic dwellings targeted. Eleven businesses were broken into and 24 sheds and outbuildings. Detection rates have gone down 11 percent, with the exception of Mid Galloway, up 22 per cent.
Shoplifting statistics have increased 43 per cent, with the majority of crimes in the Wigtown West ward which includes Stranraer. Shoplifting detection rates remain high at 86.3 per cent.
Vandalism figures are up, with 199 crimes recorded.
On Wigtownshire’s roads, there were three fatalities recorded, notable the tragic deaths of two young males outside Port William in May 2015 and the death of a motorcyclist on the A75 in June.
Speeding offences have gone up 16 per cent; driver disqualification numbers are up by 24 per cent to 41. Seat belt offences are down by 20 per cent and using a mobile phone offences have also dropped by 25 per cent to 549 from 738.