Argyll & Bute: Sexual crime is on the rise

Reports of sexual crime have risen by nearly 40 per cent in Argyll and Bute, according to the latest official figures released by Police Scotland.

Police Scotland
Police Scotland

But local councillors have been told detection rates for violent crime across the area are also on the increase.

Speaking at an Argyll and Bute Council meeting last week, Chief Superintendent Brian Gibson said the rise in violent crime detection rates was encouraging – but he admitted that falling detection rates for sexual crimes were a concern.

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The latest figures cover the three month period from July until September last year, when there were 101 sexual crime reports recorded in the local authority area.

This figure was up compared to 73 for the same period in 2017-18.

The increase has been attributed to a rise in rape, sexual assault and crimes relating to indecent images or communications.

It was also revealed at last week’s meeting that the number of deaths in road accidents also increased during the period although overall road casualty rates were down.

Addressing members of Argyll and Bute Council’s community services committee, Chief Supt Gibson said that improving the detection rates for sexual crime was a priority for his officers.

Mr Gibson said: “There are a couple of key points that jump out from the report, especially with scrutiny on road safety.

“It is concerning that road deaths have increased in the last month and that is something we are looking at, but overall there has been a reduction in casualties.

“With regards to violence and antisocial behaviour, the figures remain consistent compared to some figures across the force.

“We are doing extremely well with detection rates on where we were last year with a two per cent increase.

“We are working very closely to follow things through.

“We had a decrease in detection rates for rape crimes, with the figure now 47.6 per cent.

“We are looking very closely into this and the scrutiny team are working on it.

“We would also like to highlight that the satisfaction rate is high.

“A total of 81.6 per cent of people were satisfied that their actions were dealt with.

“There are good, strong rates in this report.”

In June last year, it was reported that the number of sexual assaults recorded in Argyll and Bute in 2017/18 had increased to 44 from 32 the previous year.