POLICE have dealt a serious blow to violent crime in Glasgow by reducing street robberies.

The Evening Times can exclusively reveal details of the year-long crackdown, which has seen almost 70% of culprits arrested.

Crime in the city centre has dropped dramatically in recent months with robberies halved.

It comes after a targeted operation to drive thieves out of Glasgow. As the city prepares to welcome one million visitors for the Commonwealth Games, police chiefs believe Glasgow is "safer than ever".

City Centre Area Commander Alan Porte vowed to continue targeting robbers and wreck their operations.

He warned: "My message to those who think they can get away with a robbery is simple - you can't and won't.

"We will catch you and arrest you."

As well as a dramatic reduction in robberies, extensive investigations have led to a major increase in catching those responsible.

Robberies in Glasgow city centre have fallen by more than 45% as police continue their crackdown on violent crime. Figures obtained by the Evening Times show the number of one of the most worrying offences has dramatically fallen in the past year.

There were just 57 robberies reported in the past year in the city centre, against 104 the previous year.

And those responsible for 68% of robberies have been detected and reported to the procurator fiscal.

Mr Porte said that the figures marked an important stage in their city-wide operation. He added: "We have almost halved the number of robbery victims as compared to last year.

"This proves that Glasgow continues to become an even safer place to visit or work.

"On top of that, we have achieved a very high detection rate, which means those intent on committing this horrible and violent crime are very likely to be caught."

Dedicated officers have been working around the clock to solve robberies and ultimately make the city streets safer for the public.

The robbery unit's wide remit includes muggings, and mobile phone thefts, as well as raids on shops, bookies and banks.

Thefts from shops in Glasgow city centre has also continued during the last year as police get tough on shoplifters. Figures show the number of shoplifting incidents in the city centre has fallen by almost 20%.

Police officially recorded 1704 incidents of shoplifting in the last year, against 2076 the previous year. With hundreds of stores in the city centre, and the Buchanan Galleries and St Enoch Centre shopping malls, the area is an obvious target for criminals.

Glasgow is the second biggest retail destination in the UK after London, worth £2.4 billion a year, with more than 1500 shops, and 38,000 employees.

Businesses lose hundreds of thousands of pounds a year to shoplifters, who are often stealing to order.

The city is the second biggest centre for shopping in Britain, after London's West End. Officers have warned that all shops - including major stores and small independent shops - can fall victim to shoplifters.

However, tough action by officers on the ground has led to more than 80% of shoplifters being caught.

"People who think that they can get away with shoplifting in Glasgow city centre are simply wrong," warned Mr Porte.

"Officers work tirelessly to detect offenders and to reduce the impact on our shops and businesses.

"I am delighted that we have detected more than 80% of offences.

"But I would like to see the number of incidences of theft reduce.

"For that reason, we will continue to target those who come to Glasgow to commit crimes."