Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, officers and staff have continuously strived to deliver an effective service during the past year as the vast majority of the public were urged to stay at home.
Police Scotland’s 2020-21 Quarter 4 Performance Report, which covers a few days into the country’s first lockdown to the start of April this year, highlights a near 2% increase in the number of domestic abuse incidents reported in the North East, while nationally 434 children in Scotland were safeguarded through the enforcement of National Online Child Abuse Prevention (NOCAP) packages between September and March this year.
Meanwhile, operations continued to be launched across the region to tackle the most serious offences relating to drugs, violence and weapons.
The number of Group 5 crimes increased by more than 4 percentage points, while nearly 96% of those crimes have been detected so far with numerous investigations still ongoing.
Overall, the year-end figures highlight a reduction in overall crime in the North East and a rise in the overall detection rate in comparison to the previous year.
Public confidence in policing locally also increased by seven percentage points, with 60% of residents who took part in the ‘Your Police’ 2020/21 survey saying they had confidence in the police compared to a rating of 53% the previous year pre COVID-19.
Divisional Commander Chief Superintendent George Macdonald said: “This year has been extraordinary on many levels, and particularly for our officers and staff who have been committed to keeping our communities safe while taking on the role of public health policing.
"I continue to be extremely grateful for the efforts of everyone within North East Division as well as the communities who provided information about those most at risk. We know that home is not a safe place for everyone, and this support allowed us to act quickly and provide assistance to those who needed it most.
“Protecting people from risk of harm continues to be a priority for our officers as the restrictions ease, and we continue to work alongside our colleagues from national specialist units and our partners to prevent ever-increasing cases of fraud and child sexual abuse. As DCC Taylor said today, we will continue to report on changes to the policing requirements as the restrictions ease, as well as the challenges that come with maintaining higher detection rates as reported crime comes closer to pre-pandemic levels.
“The months ahead signal an exciting chapter for the Division as we prepare to move from our long-standing Queen Street HQ to integrating with our partners and creating specialist hubs in Aberdeen. The project, as we have already done with Buchan House in Peterhead, ensures we can provide more effective public services with better outcomes for the local community, which will be absolutely vital as the country recovers from such a challenging period.”
• The 2020-21 Q4 Performance Report will be presented to the Scottish Police Authority’s Policing Performance Committee on Tuesday, 8 June.
The Performance Report and Management information can be found at www.scotland.police.uk/about-us/our-performance/