COUNCILLORS have defended police units in Edinburgh despite new figures showing six in ten crimes were going unsolved.
Scottish Government statistics published this week revealed a 40 per cent “clear-up” rate for crimes taking place in the Capital – the second-worst record in the country. But calls have been made to reserve judgement on the new Police Scotland regime until it has bedded in for a further year.
The report – which also revealed recorded crime in Edinburgh had spiked by 14 per cent – contained the first full-year figures for police since the national force was formed in April 2013.
The rates were published just two months after the Capital was voted Britain’s safest city in a YouGov Poll.
Councillor Mike Bridgman, convener of the city’s police and fire scrutiny committee, said the statistics had to be put into context. He said: “One minute we’re the safest city in the UK, and then statistics come out and skew that. Housebreaking will have skewed the information but for most serious crime categories, Edinburgh is doing well.”
He pointed to Edinburgh’s 76 per cent and 71 per cent clear-up rates for violent and sexual crimes. “The reality is that on the ground, police are working hard to improve solvency rates,” he added. “I have every confidence Edinburgh is still a safe city.”
Chief Superintendent Mark Williams, Edinburgh police divisional commander, said the city boasted a raft of positive statistics – including the fact that the serious assault detection rate rose by 11 per cent to 75 per cent. Reports of robbery fell by almost a third, while the detection rate rose by eight per cent.
And he said drug dealers were charged with 25 per cent more offences, while rape detection improved by nearly a third. Chf Supt Williams added: “We seized over £4 million worth of cash, property and vehicles from organised criminals through the Proceeds of Crime Act.”
He said the significant rise in break-ins to homes at the end of last year was “quickly readdressed” with the reintroduction of specialist teams.
“My officers and staff work tirelessly to deliver a professional service to all of our communities and they will continue to investigate and respond to all crimes that are reported to us.”
The council’s community safety leader, councillor Cammy Day, said that the authorities were proactive about cracking down on crime.
“We have just heard from an independent poll that we are the safest city in the UK,” he said. “I’m confident that the council and Police Scotland are focused on keeping communities safe. We need to reassure everyone that we are doing everything we possibly can.”