THE number of women committing crime in Glasgow remains stubbornly high, despite a fall elsewhere in the country, new figures show.
There were almost 20,000 crimes by female offenders aged 21 and over in Scotland’s largest city last year.
That has stayed at a constant level, while offending by women aged 21 and over in Aberdeen, and all females in Edinburgh, has dropped by 30 per cent over four years, figures released through Freedom of Information show.
Crime in Scotland has fallen to a 37-year low and most types of female offending appear to be falling, both among women and girls.
Even in Glasgow, crimes by under 16-year-old girls has fallen from 3,197 to 1,982 over four years; incidents involving 16 to 17-year-olds has dropped from 1,811 to 1,301; and crimes by 18 to 20-year-olds are down from 2,398 to 1,901.
Graeme Pearson, a Labour MSP and a former assistant chief constable of Strathclyde Police, believes women offenders in Glasgow are trapped in lives of crime by poverty. He said more needs to be done to offer them an alternative.
Mr Pearson said: “There are a number of issues. One is the difficulty the prison service has with reoffending, and the real difficulties with substance misuse and mental illness.
“Another element is the growth of women in organised crime. Women are being drawn in as victims, in human trafficking and prostitution, but also as workers in organised crime, in terms of drug dealing, shoplifting and fraud.
“It’s because of substance abuse and the need to hold the family together,” Mr Pearson added. “There’s a church of expertise that knows where the problem lies. Many of the women are victims of abuse.
“Services are needed to divert these women away from criminal conduct.”
Sandra White, a Glasgow MSP for the SNP, and, like Mr Pearson, a member of the Scottish Parliament’s justice committee, believes tackling the level of offending among women in the city should be a priority.
“Here we have figures that show crime committed by women aged 21 and over in Glasgow has stayed static,” she said.
On efforts to rehabilitate female offenders, she added: “I think we are touching the tip of the iceberg. It’s very prevalent in certain areas and it would mostly be prostitution, non-payment of fines and drugs.
“These are areas where we must make changes.
“There is a lot of work being done on the ground to turn this around, but we have to do more.”
Police said it was hard to say why crimes by women were not falling in Glasgow, but believe a hard core of offenders may be driving the numbers up.