Historic sex offences and ‘sextortion’ behind surge in Bathgate sex crime figures
A rise in sex crimes figures for Bathgate has resulted from proactive work by police to investigate historic sex offencees and a rise in ‘sextortion’ cases during the Covid pandemic, police say.
Sex crime cases rose from seven recorded between April and June 2020 to 27 for the same three month period this year.
Serious assault cases in the town also increased from three to eight year-on-year.
Sergeant Keith Jack tabled the latest quarterly figures at this month’s local area committee.
Councillor Charles Kennedy questioned the “huge increases.”
Sgt Jack told the meeting that the percentages and figures came ”with a health warning”.
He said: “The percentages are what they are. There’s always a context behind these things.
“In terms of the sexual crimes, which would be the figure we’d all be drawn to, that actually has been as a result of really good proactive police work in terms of looking at historical cases.”
He said that, in some cases, it was as a result of “revisiting complainers, who then will disclose further offences, or offences that have not already been reported.”
National campaigns around offences such as sextortion online had also pushed up the figures.
Sgt Jack added: “What I can reassure you on...is that we don’t have someone running around Bathgate committing sexual crimes on people on the street – stranger-type attacks.”
Where such an incident happened there would be a ”massive police response”, the sergeant added.
Councillor Kennedy said it was good to “get some context,” adding: “It’s good to have background to these raw figures, that it’s not just as bad as it appears, so that’s appreciated.”