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Thursday, 12 October, 2000, 14:30 GMT 15:30 UK
Crime hits 25-year low
Spotlight campaign
The force's Spotlight campaign helped cut offending
Crime has fallen to its lowest level in 25 years in Scotland's largest police force area.

Strathclyde Police says detection rates have also risen to their highest level over the last six months.

The force is particularly pleased at the fall in violent crime - and expects even greater improvements with the introduction of 200 more officers.

Overall there has been 6.5% fewer crimes committed in the last six months in the Strathclyde area.

John Orr
John Orr: "Focus on reducing violent crime"
That fall follows a similar drop the previous year.

The force is now on course to end the year 2000 with the lowest crime figures since it started recording them in 1976, the year after its inception.

The overall decrease is partly due to the first significant fall in violent crime, which has until now been a particularly hard nut for the police to crack.

Only last week government ministers and all Scotland's eight police forces teamed up to fight violent crime in the first ever Scotland-wide anti-crime campaign.

Murder rate

A "nationwide offensive" was launched after statistics recorded a significant rise in the national figures last year.

However, the latest figures showed that violent crime is down by 13% in Strathclyde in the first six months of this year.

That includes a 26% fall in the murder rate, 42.5% fewer attempted murders and a 17% fall in the number of robberies.

Housebreaking is down by almost 14% and car crime has dropped by 19%.

Strathclyde Police headquarters
The force will get funding for 200 more officers
The report also details a 35% fall in drug deaths, a drop of 10% in crimes of dishonesty and 7% fewer crimes of indecency.

More than 4.5m worth of drugs were also seized.

Detection rates are also improving and now stand at 44%.

However, the force did report a major increase in the number of racist crimes.

They rose by 144%, from 107 to 261 crimes - with a detection rate of 72%.

Mr Orr said, "Whilst any upturn in crime is a cause for concern, I am confident that a significant proportion of the rise in racially motivated reports is as a direct result of revised procedures introduced by Strathclyde Police to encourage members of ethnic minority communities to report crime.

"Racially motivated crime has no place in our society and those who perpetrate it will be rigorously pursued."

Safer streets

He said the falls in crime levels over the last five years had been "tainted" by the difficulty in making an impact on violent crime.

"This year, the force's Spotlight Initiative turned its focus directly on reducing violent crime with its safer streets campaign and across the board, falls in violent crime have been observed," he said.

Mr Orr believes the Scottish Executive's recent announcement of 200 more officers will allow the force to drive crime down even further.

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See also:

12 Oct 00 | Scotland
Drive to stamp out gay attacks
05 Oct 00 | Scotland
War declared on violent crime
28 Jul 00 | Scotland
Police in violence purge
08 Jun 00 | Scotland
Murders up as overall crime falls
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