Stats anger politi­cians

Ayrshire Post - - Special Report - Gary Fan­ning

Sex crime across Ayr­shire has soared over the past year, shock new fig­ures re­veal.

The num­ber of crimes of in­de­cency re­ported to po­lice shot up from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, to 1259.

This com­pares to 1187 from April 1 2016 to March 31, 2017.

A to­tal of 130 rapes were re­ported to po­lice in 2017/ 18 com­pared to 76for the pre­vi­ous 12 months.

The lat­est full- year fig­ures are equiv­a­lent to more than two rapes be­ing re­ported to po­lice across the county ev­ery week.

Sex crimes rose from 540 in 2016/ 17 to 694 2017/ 18.

Ayr, Car­rick and Cum­nock MP Bill Grant ( be­low) slammed the poor con­vic­tion rates for sex crime and called for ur­gent ac­tion to tackle “Scot­land’s soft­touch jus­tice sys­tem”.

He said: “On the face of it, these in­creases in sex crime and vi­o­lent crime are shock­ing and some cases will have a life­long im­pact for the vic­tims and for the fam­i­lies of all those in­volved.

“How­ever, I think we need to look beyond the sta­tis­tics and ask a num­ber of ques­tions as to why the rise may have oc­curred.

“Is me­dia cov­er­age of high pro­file cases en­cour­ag­ing vic­tims not to be afraid to come for­ward? Are the po­lice now per­ceived as be­ing more pre­pared to lis­ten and to take ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion? Do ad­verse child­hood ex­pe­ri­ences ( ACEs) play a part in these shock­ing sta­tis­tics?

“I am aware that the lo­cal Po­lice Com­man­der is ea­ger to em­bed the as­pect of ACEs into po­lice pro­ce­dures.

“It ap­pears that con­vic­tion rates for al­leged rape and sex crime in­ci­dents are poor.

“Scot­land’s soft- touch jus­tice sys­tem needs to be re­viewed to as­cer­tain why this is the case, ap­pro­pri­ate sup­port has to be pro­vided for those go­ing through such crim­i­nal pro­ceed­ings and when cases are proven against per­pe­tra­tors of these wicked crimes, then the pun­ish­ment should truly re­flect the hor­ror of such crimes “

Cen­tral Ayr­shire MP Philippa Whit­ford was alarmed by the sharp in­crease.

She said: “Ob­vi­ously these fig­ures are con­cern­ing but, with­out fur­ther anal­y­sis, it is not pos­si­ble to know what pro­por­tion of these sex­ual crimes is cur­rent and what pro­por­tion is his­tor­i­cal.

“Nor with­out de­tailed re­search do we know whether the # MeToo cam­paign has en­cour­aged more women to come for­ward.

“Nonethe­less, it is clear there is a prob­lem.

The risk of sex­ual as­sault is in­flu­enced by how women are viewed, treated and re­spected by our so­ci­ety, and this is some­thing we need to tackle through ed­u­ca­tion.”

Busy po­lice It is thought more sex crimes are be­ing re­ported be­cause of the # MeToo cam­paign Philippa Whit­ford “Ob­vi­ously these fig­ures are con­cern­ing”

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