Lifting of lockdown sees Aberdeenshire crime figures rise again

Recorded crime in Aberdeenshire has returned to pre-pandemic levels – with figures rising for the first two quarters of 2021-22.

By Kevin McRoberts
Friday, 17th December 2021, 6:00 am
Police officers have had to deal with a rise in crime following the easing of restrictions.
Police officers have had to deal with a rise in crime following the easing of restrictions.

The latest data, covering the period from April to September 2021, shows increases in crimes of violence, sexual crimes, crimes of dishonesty, and fire raising and malicious mischief.

In terms of crimes of dishonesty, housebreaking was down slightly on the same period last year, as was vehicle crime, with fraud accounting for much of the rise in this crime category.

Last year, for the six month period, 205 fraud crimes were recorded in Aberdeenshire, this year it’s 330.

Chief Superintendent George Macdonald, Divisional Commander, said: “ Officers and staff in the North East Division have continued to rise to the challenges they faced, including the complex demand that online offending brings. We have seen a significant rise in fraud reports compared to the same period last year and we have dedicated resources to tackle cyber enabled crimes.

“A new team was established this summer and they work alongside national units within Police Scotland as we respond to the evolving nature of crime as part of our ‘ Cyber Strategy 2020: keeping people safe in a digital world’.”

Recorded crimes of rape and attempted rape in Aberdeenshire rose from 18 for the six-month period last year, to 33 this year. The number of sexual assaults also rose from 51 to 79, and there was an increase in sexual crimes involving communication – another indication of the rise in online offences.

Crimes of domestic abuse were up from 55 to 59.

“Tackling sexual offending and domestic abuse continues to be a priority, and with an increase in crimes recorded I want to reassure the public that we remain committed to investigating these offences and bringing offenders to justice,” said Ch Supt Macdonald.

The supply of drugs is another area where recorded crime has increased. Between April and September 2021, 93 crimes involving the supply of drugs – including the production, manufacture or cultivation of drugs, the supply of drugs and possession with intent to supply, and bringing drugs into prison – were recorded. That’s a rise of 30 on the same period in 2020.

The number of serious assaults recorded in Aberdeenshire was up from 34 to 45, and figures for robberies and assaults with intent to rob rose from seven to 17.

The divisional commander also highlighted issues on the roads.

Recorded drink or drug driving offences were up from 129 in the first six months of 2020-21 to 183 for the first six months of 2021-22. Speeding offences rose dramatically, from 361 to 932, clearly reflecting the impact lockdown had on traffic levels last year.

Ch Supt Macdonald said: “Improving road safety remains a priority as well, and we have all seen, heard or read about the devastating consequences poor driver behaviour can have.

“We have recorded an increase in a number of road traffic offences, including dangerous or careless driving and speeding. We all have a role to play in keeping the roads safe and I want to reiterate my plea to drivers to be safe and not put themselves, or others, at avoidable and unnecessary risk.”