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Thursday, 15 August, 2002, 19:57 GMT 20:57 UK
Violent crime jumps by 15%
Police on patrol
Police have been set targets for tackling crime
Violent crime in Scotland's largest police force area has jumped by almost 15% compared with a year ago.

A total of 4,330 violent crimes were recorded in the Strathclyde Police force area during the three months to June, a 14.5% increase on the figure for the same period last year.

Chief Constable William Rae was disappointed by the rise, which he says is partly explained by increased seizures of weapons.


These figures are extremely worrying and we have to hope that they don't represent a longer-term trend

Roseanna Cunningham
SNP justice spokeswoman
He has ordered the commanders of the force's nine divisions to tackle the problem locally.

The statistics also showed an 8.9% increase in offences of indecency, although falls in the level of other offences meant crime was down overall by 1.8%.

Scottish National Party justice spokeswoman Roseanna Cunningham said: "These figures are extremely worrying and we have to hope that they don't represent a longer-term trend.

"I would be very interested to hear from the police in Strathclyde as to what their explanation for this jump is."

Mr Rae told BBC Scotland that the number of serious assaults and murders had remained unchanged.

Weapon seizures

"It is largely the people carrying offensive weapons that is the big worry.

"We have tried everything to reduce that and we are not having much success," he said.

The increase in weapons seizures includes a 36% rise in the number of knives.

Chief Constable Willie Rae
Mr Rae is seeking urgent action
Each of these incidents is classed as a crime of violence.

However, Mr Rae has warned against public anxiety and stressed that the chances of being a victim of violent crime is still extremely low.

Detection rates for violent crime in Strathclyde were unchanged at 69%, meaning detectives cleared up 2,991 of the recorded offences.

The overall crime level fell by 1.8%, helped by a 7.6% reduction in vandalism and similar offences and a 1.6% drop in crimes of dishonesty.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Executive said police forces across Scotland had been set targets to reduce recorded crime overall by 5% and serious violent crime by 4.1% by April 2004.

See also:

11 Jan 02 | Scotland
18 Jan 01 | Scotland
21 Dec 00 | Scotland
06 Dec 00 | Scotland
12 Oct 00 | Scotland
05 Oct 00 | Scotland
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