A local police chief has hit back at comparisons being made between the crime detection rates in Inverness and Moray.
Highlands and Islands MSP David Stewart has questioned why the crime detection rate in Moray at 51% was currently 15 percentage points lower than in the Highland capital.
Mr Stewart insisted that here had to be a reason why Moray had a lower detection rate, in particular as 480 more crimes had been reported in Inverness that in Moray.
The MSP added that he had been advised staff were being “abstracted away” from Moray and also away from the front line, adding: “Moray suffers from a trend of acquisitive crime and is susceptible to this type of crime by certain groups.
“If this one area of the whole of the north is being so targeted, whey then do Police Scotland not target this area with specialist help from outside the area?”
However, Chief Inspector Willie Findlay insisted the comparing the urban environment of Inverness with the largely rural Moray was “not ideal”.
He added: “Local policing is at the heart of everything Police Scotland does so that differing demands across our diverse Scottish communities can be met.
“Moray continues to be a safe place with low crime levels and improving detection rates. With regard to acquisitive crime in Moray, we have seen a 24% reduction in this type of crime whilst detection rates have increased by 7% on the previous year.”
The Elgin-based chief inspector added that officer numbers were often subject to small variations, but insisted that the numbers remained “relatively constant” and that there were no abstractions to the detriment of staffing complement.