South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth has expressed deep concern after the latest crime statistics revealed an 11% increase in recorded crime in Dumfries and Galloway, with the region recording the highest rate of sexual crimes in Scotland.

The “Recorded Crime in Scotland: 2018-2019” report published by the Scottish Government shows that in 2018/19 there were 6,770 crimes recorded by the Police in Dumfries and Galloway. This was a rise of 11% from the 6,098 crimes reported in 2017/18.

The report shows that between 2017/18 and 2018/19 there was a 12% rise in sexual crimes including rape and sexual assault, with 36 per 10,000 people in 2018-19- the highest rate anywhere in Scotland.

There was also a 19% rise in crimes of dishonesty such as housebreaking, theft and shop lifting.

Colin Smyth MSP recently joined local police on the beat around Dumfries Town Centre where local shops have experienced an increase in shop lifting.

Colin Smyth said, “An 11% rise in crime in Dumfries and Galloway is a real concern for local people in our region. Police on the ground work day in, day out to keep us safe and often go above and beyond. However, a failure to tackle the causes of crime such as addiction and poverty means that demands on the police are on the increase and resources have to spread more thinly. The rise in sexual crimes is a matter of particular concern. Whilst some of the increase is explained by victims of historical crimes coming forward and overall people feeling more confident about reporting sexual crimes , that doesn’t explain why Dumfries and Galloway has the highest rate in Scotland. I will be seeking an explanation from the Justice Minister for this significant rise and more importantly and assurance that the Police in Dumfries and Galloway are given the resources needed to bring the growing number of perpetrators to justice”.

Colin Smyth has tabled questions on the rise in crime, which are due to be answered by the Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf in the Scottish Parliament during Justice Questions on Thursday 3 October.

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