Sex crime: safety in numbers

Thousands attended the Queen's Park event in June calling for safer streets
Thousands attended the Queen's Park event in June calling for safer streets

Glasgow south east’s top cop has released statistics which show a drop in sexual crimes in the area — but assures the public that the issue remains a priority.

The subject has dominated headlines following a spate of sexual offences across Glasgow — in Govanhill, Toryglen, Kelvingrove and the city centre — prompting a midnight march at Queen’s Park attended by over 3,000 people.

These Streets Were Made for Walking took place on June 6, organised by southsiders Amanda Johnston and Ashley Crossan “to send a message to both the perpretrators and the authorities”.

This week, chief inspector Carol McGuire, area commander for Glasgow south east, told The Extra: “It is the perception of the public that the number of rapes and sexual offences is increasing within Glasgow, and they are concerned about their safety.

“This is entirely understandable given the recent high profile offences — albeit it’s unusual to see a number of such high profile crimes in such a short space of time.”

CI McGuire highlights Police Scotland figures for 2013/14 which show a 13.5 per cent reduction in violent crime across Greater Glasgow, as well as a 0.5% reduction in the number of sexual offences.

Despite numerous high profile incidents in recent months, the figures to date for 2014/15 also show a reduction year-on-year — 18.4% for all sexual offences across the city, and 31.2% in the Glasgow south east area.

The chief inspector hopes the latest stats will reassure members of the public, but added: “One victim is too many and sexual violence of any form is unacceptable. This is a priority for Police Scotland, and the Greater Glasgow division.

“I have, and will continue to have, additional foot and mobile patrols in the areas where the recent rapes occurred in Glasgow south east, in order to provide public reassurance and to deter, as far as possible, any future crimes.”

Extra readers were out in force at last month’s march, including Clare McAllister, who said: “I want to feel that I can walk about safely at any time of the day or night without worrying about what might happen.”

Tania Eadie added that the next step was “ensuring accountability of police and elected members to take appropriate action to catch perps, and help build communities were we can all live and work in safety”.