Fury as Hawick police ditch crime figure reports

Hawick Police Station.
Hawick Police Station.

A few weeks after the Hawick News revealed plummeting crime solvency rates, Police Scotland have dropped the figures from their monthly crime reports.

In a move which will be seen by many as a cynical attempt to keep local politicians and members of the public in the dark over poor clear-up rates, Tuesday’s Teviot and Liddesdale Area Forum in the town hall heard there will be no more monthly crime statistics.

Less than a month ago, the Hawick News reported that more than half of the crimes committed in Hawick remain unsolved and that many reported incidents are not followed up.

The report given to the August Area Forum showed that only 45.2 per cent of crimes are cleared up, but these figures will no longer be made available to the press and public. The new report, which Sergeant Robbie Noble said was being introduced throughout the country, was described by former top police officer and now Hawick and Denholm independent councillor, Watson McAteer, as a “complete waste of time”.

The news comes weeks after Hawick councillors McAteer and Stuart Marshall met with assistant chief constable Kate Thomson who assured the pair that local policing was high on her agenda.

But according to Mr McAteer, this latest bombshell does nothing to back the assistant chief constable’s claims up. Speaking at Tuesday’s meeting, Mr McAteer said: “Coming to a meeting of this nature with a report that contains no solvency figures or statistics is a complete waste of time. I am extremely unhappy about this.”

And after the meeting, he added: “News that the Police Scotland report presented at the Teviot and Liddesdale Area Forum will no longer contain local crime statistics is completely unacceptable.

“A key measure of police performance and a significant factor in providing community reassurance is the transparency of how effective the police manage crime in an area. It is worrying that this decision has been made at a time when crime appears to be increasing and solvency rates have recently slumped.

“I call on Police Scotland to rectify the position by reinstating local crime and incident statistics as part of their public reporting obligations.

“At a time when Police Scotland is under increasing pressure to improve their image and deliver more effective community policing this step simply exacerbates the problem.”

A Police spokesperson added: “Our analysts supply quarterly crime statistics, which include solvency rates, to the Police & Fire Scrutiny Board. These statistics are all made public and can be obtained via the Scottish Police Authority website.”