A greater number of motorists have been detected for a range of offences within the Lothians and Borders during the first quarter of 2020/21.

Police Scotland has released its Q1 Management Information data, which shows that between April 1 and June 30 2020, the number of Road Traffic Act offences recorded rose by almost five per cent, to 1627. This is compared to the 1552 reported during the same period last year.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, additional road policing patrols were deployed to monitor the division’s main routes and this has resulted in a rise in the detection rate in relation to road traffic offences. Where previously, 1317 incidents were solved, this first quarter saw a solvency rate of 1502, which is an increase of 14 per cent.

Police Scotland’s national Q1 data shows an ongoing trend of fraud offences rising and the Lothians and Scottish Borders has also seen a rise.

From April to June this year, 282 frauds were recorded. This is an increase of 54 per cent on last year, where 183 incidents were reported.

Despite the rise in fraud cases, police in the Lothians and Scottish Borders have also detected more cases as well.

In total, 19 further crimes of fraud have resulted in a report to the Procurator Fiscal – an increase of almost 37 per cent.

Protecting vulnerable people from harm is of the highest priority within the division and online virtual spaces continue to provide challenges to officers.

Indecent communications, threats and extortion and threatening to disclose intimate images have seen 10, nine and 13 more crimes reported respectively in the first quarter.

However, officers within the Public Protection Unit have been resolute in their investigations, resulting in increased detections for indecent communications and threatening to disclose intimate images.

With large rural areas within the division, there has been a significant emphasis in improving detection rates for wildlife crime. This year, a total of 17 wildlife crimes were recorded in the three-month period and 12 were detected, thanks to work co-ordinated by a dedicated wildlife crime officer.

Chief Superintendent John McKenzie, Divisional Commander for the Lothians and Scottish Borders said: “Firstly, I want to thank officers and staff within the division for all of their outstanding work, which has been undertaken amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“As DCC Fiona Taylor stated, we must all resist the urge to make hasty conclusions about crime trends, given the unprecedented period of time during which this data was recorded. While COVID-19 has changed some of our working practices, our commitment to solving crimes and keeping the Lothians and Scottish Borders a safe place to live, work and visit remains constant. We will of course review any rises in criminal activity to respond pragmatically and proportionately. Where it is required, we will utilise the assistance of Police Scotland’s specialist units and departments as well as any relevant partners. We continue to build confidence in policing and I look forward to enhancing this confidence further through professional and dedicated policing within the division.”