Latest crime figures released by Police Scotland have revealed where one of the safest regions in Scotland can be found.

Highlands & Islands’ most senior police officer thanked the public for their support, after it was revealed that the region has one of the lowest crime rates in the country.

The figures were published in Police Scotland's Q2 Management Information figures 2020-21 which were released today and cover the period April 1 to September 30.

According to police, it is thanks to proactive and enforcement activity, that more than 1,000 drug offences were recorded, while 156 crimes involving offensive or bladed weapons were detected as efforts continued to tackle violent crime.

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Identifying and supporting vulnerable people being exploited by criminals also remains a priority, say police, with days of action launched across the region to tackle ‘county lines’.

Meanwhile, almost 4,000 people were charged with crimes relating to dangerous driving, including doing so under the influence and speeding.

In response to local concerns, officers alongside Police Scotland’s road policing unit will continue to carry out patrols on routes across the region to provide a visible presence, reassure communities and influence driver behaviour.

Divisional Commander Chief Superintendent Conrad Trickett said: “While increased detection rates and reductions in crime are always welcome, it is important to remember that this has been an extraordinary period and therefore it’s very difficult to draw conclusions about long-term crime trends generally.

"While crime levels nationally are returning to levels experienced during previous years, it could take many months – maybe even years - before we fully understand the impact Covid-19 has had.

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“While these figures will serve as a benchmark for continued improvement, they do not tell the full story of policing during the past few months.

"Identifying and protecting the most vulnerable people alongside our partners has been absolutely key and our officers, staff and Special Constables remain out in your communities helping those most in need and providing reassurance.

"Moving forward, the potential for suppressed vulnerability remains a concern and I urge communities to remain vigilant of those at potential risk and to raise any concerns to police or partners.”

Nationally, fraud offences and online child abuse continue to rise sharply, with Police Scotland’s national Performance Report highlighting a significant increase in cyber-crimes.

Chief Superintendent Trickett added: “As explained by Deputy Chief Constable Fiona Taylor today, Police Scotland’s ambitious cyber strategy sets out a clear direction for how we tackle the exploitation of vulnerable people and children, either for financial gain or for sexual purposes.

"While we do all that we can to bring offenders to justice, it is crucial that the public take steps to protect themselves from these criminals and be aware of the warning signs.”

The Divisional Commander added: “It has been three months since I joined the region and I continue to be extremely proud of the work ongoing alongside our partners to keep people safe.

"I am also extremely grateful for the support we receive from our communities and I can provide every assurance that Police Scotland is here to help and will continue responding to your concerns.”