City police tactics helping to discover more rapes

DOMESTIC abuse investigators have uncovered hundreds of serious sex crimes as Glasgow police tactics are rolled out nationwide.

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The number of rapes recorded in Scotland has shot up by around a third under the new national force.

Nearly 1300 of the crimes were recorded between April and December 2013, almost as many as in the whole of the previous year. Overall sex crime was up too, by 16%, according to figures published by the Scottish Police Authority (SPA).

Chief Constable Sir Steve House yesterday attributed some of the rise to the increased and more thorough investigation of domestic incidents - a scheme pioneered by the Strathclyde force.

Speaking at an SPA meeting in Glenrothes, Fife, Sir Steve he said nearly 400 sexual offences were uncovered in the context of such cases.

He said: "This is one of the reasons we have seen a rise of rape reports of 38% this year. There are other factors too, of course.

"If officers are at a domestic abuse incident and they ask the victim -stereotypically a woman assaulted by a male partner - she will say she has been, say, slapped.

"She is not going to say she has been the subject of rapes for 10 years."

However, the same victim, he said may give such information if asked about it later.

Officers now routinely follow up domestic abuse cases to see if there has been a sexual crime.

Police also attribute the rise in rape reporting to growing confidence among women and - especially for historic allegations - to the "Jimmy Savile" effect, when publicity around celebrity cases encourages more women to come forward.

Sandy Brindley of Rape Crisis Scotland said it was worrying to see such a rise.

"It is true that victims now have more confidence in the police, thanks to the efforts that have been made to increase reporting, and that will have had an impact on the figures," she said.

"But it is also likely there are more of these crimes taking place."

There were 1293 rapes recorded from April to December 2013, compared with 1372 in the 12 months up to April 2013.

Police said the detection rate for the crime - when they are satisfied they know who committed it even if prosecutors can't secure a conviction - had jumped, with almost 75% of the 1293 "detected", up 11% on the same period in 2012.

The SPA has also revealed the number of people killed or seriously injured on Scotland's roads dropped 19%, to 1368, from April to December 2013.

david.leask@eveningtimes.co.uk

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