Police spot-checks cut crime in Glasgow city centre

POLICE carried out more than 30,000 on-the-spot searches in Glasgow city centre during the last nine months – leading to a dramatic reduction in serious violent crime.

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Police spot-checks helping to cut crime
Police spot-checks helping to cut crime

Figures obtained by the Evening Times show the number of the most worrying offences in the city centre have fallen almost 30% during the same period.

There were 151 "group one" crimes – such as serious assault and robbery – in the Alpha Bravo police beat in the nine months from April to the end of December, against 212 in the same period last year.

Officers carried out 31,307 stop-and-searches on suspected criminals in the centre of the city over the last nine months.

This was an increase of 16.8%, or 5279, from 26,028 between April and December 2011.

Chief Inspector Alan Porte, area commander for Glasgow city centre attributes the recent success to the "invaluable tool".

He said: "I strongly believe stop-and-searches have a positive impact on crime levels and I think these new figures reflect that.

"These are not just random searches – this is intelligence-led policing.

"It is about having police officers in the right place at the right time.

"We specifically target any problematic areas and licensed premises, the places our officers are needed.

"Not only are the stop-and-searches having a direct impact on serious crimes, including assaults.

"They also send an important message to any potential criminals: if you bring a weapon into the city centre, you will be arrested, dealt with robustly, and subjected to the full rigour of the law."

Mr Porte said his officers use stop-and-search to target those carrying weapons, drugs and alcohol on the city streets.

About 14% of the searches carried out from April to the end of December had a "positive result" with arrests being made, or weapons, alcohol and drugs confiscated.

Serious assaults fell more than 40% in the city centre last year, according to the latest police figures.

Officers recorded 67 incidents in the nine months from April to the end of December, 46 fewer than the same period the year before.

During the same period, robberies fell 25%, with 62 crimes reported, against 83 the previous year.

Fewer people are now bringing blades into the city centre, with knife carrying down to 37 incidents from 69 the previous year.

Mr Porte said: "The stop-and- searches are clearly sending a message to anyone thinking about carrying a weapon.

"It is also a vital tool in preventing crimes and keeping people safe, which is our ultimate aim.

"By taking weapons, alcohol and drugs out of the situation, we can help to stop serious crimes, including robberies and assaults, from happening later on in the night."

Police chiefs are very happy with the numbers and have vowed they will be far from complacent.

Mr Porte added: "Currently, the detection rate is about 66% for robberies, which is good, but we will also work to get it higher.

"We must continue to work with our partners, including Glasgow Community and Safety Services, NiteZone, street pastors and the SOS bus.

"All of these services are there to assist us in identifying vulnerable people and prevent them becoming victims of crime."

The new chief constable of Scotland, former Strathclyde boss Steve House, helped introduce the increase in stop-and-searches as a tactic to fight crime.

If the police are looking for more knives or encouraging victims to come forward, the logic is, they should get more reports of crime and their statistics should go up.

However, the effect has been the opposite, and across the city centre, figures for violence – which include minor assaults – are down.

"Glasgow city centre is a safe place to come," Mr Porte said. "The figures prove that. We want people to come into the city and enjoy everything it has to offer. We will continue to work to make Glasgow as safe as possible."

rebecca.gray@heraldandtimes.co.uk

POLICE carried out more than 30,000 on-the-spot searches in Glasgow city centre during the last nine months – leading to a dramatic reduction in serious violent crime.

And figures obtained by the Evening Times show the number of the most worrying offences in the city centre have fallen almost 30% during the same period.

There were 151 "group one" crimes – such as serious assault and robbery – in the Alpha Bravo police beat in the nine months from April to the end of December, against 212 in the same period last year.

Officers carried out 31,307 stop-and-searches on suspected criminals, in the centre of the city over the last nine months.

Chief Inspector Alan Porte, area commander for Glasgow city centre attributes the recent success to the "invaluable tool".

He said: "I strongly believe that stop-and-searches have a positive impact on crime levels and I think these new figures reflect that.

"These aren't just random searches – this is intelligence-led policing.

"It's about having police officers in the right place at the right time.

"We specifically target any problematic areas and licensed premises, the places that our officers are needed.

"Not only are the stop-and- searches having a direct impact on serious crimes, including assaults.

"They also send an important message to any potential criminals, if you bring a weapon into the city centre, you will be arrested, dealt with robustly, and subjected to the full rigour of the law."

Mr Porte said his officers use stop-and-search to target those carrying weapons, drugs and alcohol on the city streets.

Around 14% of the searches carried out from April to the end of December had a "positive result" with arrests being made, or weapons, alcohol and drugs confiscated.

Serious assaults fell by more than 40% in the city centre last year, according to the latest police figures.

Police recorded 67 incidents, in the nine months from April to the end of December, 46 fewer than the same period the year before.

During the same period, robberies fell 25%, with 62 crimes reported, compared to 83 the previous year.

Fewer people are now bringing blades into the city centre, with knife carrying down to 37 incidents from 69 the previous year.

Mr Porte said: "The stop-and- searches are clearly sending a message to anyone thinking about carrying a weapon.

"It is also a vital tool in preventing crimes and keeping people safe, which is our ultimate aim.

"By taking weapons, alcohol and drugs out of the situation, we can help to stop serious crimes, including robberies and assaults, from happening later on in the night."

Police chiefs are very happy with the numbers and have vowed they will be far from complacent.

Mr Porte added: "Currently, my detection rate is around 66% for robberies, which is good, but we will also work to get it higher.

"We must continue to work with our partners, including Glasgow Community and Safety Services (GCSS), NiteZone, street pastors and the SOS bus.

"All of these services are there to assist us in identifying vulnerable people and prevent them becoming victims of crime."

The new chief constable of Scotland, former Strathclyde boss Steve House, helped introduce the increase in stop-and-searches as a tactic to fight crime.

If the police are looking for more knives or encouraging victims to come forward, the logic is, they should get more reports of crime and their statistics should go up.

However, the effect has been the opposite, and across the city centre, figures for violence – which include minor assaults – are down.

"Glasgow city centre is a safe place to come," Mr Porte said. "The figures prove that. We want people to come into the city and enjoy everything that it has to offer. We will continue to work to make Glasgow as safe as possible."

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