Cost of living may be driving rise in some crimes in Scottish Borders, Police Chief says

Chief Inspector Vincent Fisher, pictured, says the prevalence of crack cocaine is another big factor behind the figures. Credit: Scottish Borders Police / Police Scotland

The cost of living crisis could be contributing to a rise in some crimes, an officer from Scottish Borders Police has said.

Chief Inspector Vincent Fisher, the local area commander for the Borders, made the comments while presenting a crime report to members of Scottish Borders Council's Police, Fire and Rescue and Safer Communities Board this week.

While overall crime was down by 2.61%, CI Fisher said there were some crimes bucking the trend - including domestic abuse, hate crime and sexual crime.

He said: "In terms of domestic abuse incidents there has been an increase of 2.26 per cent compared to the five year average. Our detection rates are highly respectable and higher than the national average.

"Crimes of violence are up 47.5 per cent overall but we know a significant reason for that increase is the threats of extortion that occur online."

When asked if the cost of living crisis had an impact on those rises, CI Fisher said it "absolutely did" - but that illegal drug use was another major factor.

He said: "I spoke to the DCI when I was compiling this report and that was his view that some of this is owing to the cost of living crisis, some of it is owing to the prevalence of crack cocaine, which has a quicker turnaround time.

"People need crack cocaine quicker than they would heroin or some of the other drugs that have been around a bit longer. I think a significant proportion of that is drug-related, so in the main there shouldn't be reason for public panic as it's almost all contained within the drug community."

He added: "In terms of anti-social behaviour and reducing that it is a good news story across the board, with the notable exception of fire-raising. Of the increase in that there are probably three main protagonists that we can attribute that rise to, who have been charged with multiple incidents of that."

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