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Friday, 15 June, 2001, 09:59 GMT 10:59 UK
Increase in racist crime
Strathclyde Police headquarters
Strathclyde Police has revealed its annual crime figures
Racist crime has hit a record high in Strathclyde after the number of recorded incidents rose by almost a third, according to new figures.

Scotland's largest police force unveiled statistics showing that crime in the area had fallen to its lowest level in its 26-year history.

But there was also a 29% rise in the number of racially motivated crimes, which increased from 880 to 1,241.

Sir John Orr
Sir John Orr retires this month
Chief Constable Sir John Orr said: "I must admit concern at the rise in racist incidents to a new high level.

"I am satisfied that a large part of it is down to improved reporting procedures and a growing confidence in the police from the ethnic minority communities."

Sir John said he hoped the figures would fall after the changes had been fully phased in, and stressed that he would be "extremely concerned" if the numbers continued to rise.

While the number of reported incidents rose, the detection rates also increased from 66% in 1999/2000 to 74% in 2000/01.

This has been a very satisfying year for the force, especially with the inroads we have made against violent crime

Sir John Orr
For the first time, Strathclyde Police published its annual report in the five main languages used by the ethnic communities in the area.

Councillor Bashir Mann, chairman of the Police Board, said this added to the process of building confidence.

Overall crime fell by 2.2% to the lowest level in the force's history.

Across the region violent crime fell from 14,790 to 13,792, while the number of murders dropped from 85 to 65.

'Firm action'

The force also broke its own records by solving 44.1% of recorded crimes.

Sir John, who retires at the end of the month after six years in the post, said these results reflected the "firm action" he has introduced to combat crime.

"This has been a very satisfying year for the force, especially with the inroads we have made against violent crime," he said.

"When I noticed that crime was coming down but violent crime was rising in the past few years, I decided that firm action was needed.

Crime levels have fallen to a record low
"The successes in tackling violent crime are the direct result of robust, interventionist policing, as demonstrated during the Spotlight on Safer Streets and the subsequent national campaign, Safer Scotland."

The report also says that every officer in the force has been measured for revolutionary new body armour.

Police will also be issued with a CS spray, following a successful pilot, while DNA sampling will be extended.

Earlier this year the force launched special patrols in an attempt to stamp out abuse aimed at asylum seekers in Glasgow.

An interpreter is being employed to help police overcome communication barriers, which often prevent them from dealing effectively with asylum seekers living in the city.

The initiative was prompted by growing concern at the number of apparently racist attacks on asylum seekers.

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