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Increase in sexual crimes in Highlands 'extremely alarming' says MSP


By Gordon Calder


THE rise in sexual crimes in the Highlands by 34 per cent has been described as "extremely alarming" by a north MSP.

Edward Mountain, a Conservative MSP for the Highlands and Islands, plans to press the Scottish Government and Police Scotland to see what action can be taken to reverse the trend.

He spoke out after a report on recorded crime in Scotland revealed that across the country the number of recorded sexual crimes jumped by over eight per cent from 12,4867 in 2017/18 to 13,547 in 2018/19 – the highest figure since records began. In the Highlands, the figure rose from 445 to 595 over the same period.

Mr Mountain says rise in sexual crimes in Highlands is "extremely alarming"
Mr Mountain says rise in sexual crimes in Highlands is "extremely alarming"

Overall, however, crimes in the north fell by three per cent but increased by one per cent – up nearly 2000 – in Scotland.

Mr Mountain said: "While overall crime is decreasing in the Highlands, it is extremely alarming to see a huge increase in the number of sexual crimes in this region in the past year.

"Even more worrying is the fact that crimes of this nature are sometimes never reported and that means the true picture could be far worse.

"I am pressing the Scottish Government and Police Scotland to see what urgent action can be taken to reverse the rise in sexual crimes in the Highlands."

The report shows that crimes recorded by the police in Scotland increased by one per cent from 244,504 to 246,480 but says "the recording of crime remains at one of the lowest levels seen since 1974".

The document also states that non-sexual crimes of violence increased by 10 per cent from 7251 to 8008 but are at a lower level than between 1980 and 2012.

Crimes of dishonesty remained almost unchanged, increasing by less than one per centfrom 114,474 to 114,506.

Fire-raising and vandalism decreased by six per cent from 51,322 to 47,997 – the lowest level since 1976.

Other crimes, including drug possession, crimes against public justice or handling offensive weapons, increased by six per cent from 58,970 to 62,422.



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