AS YOU may have seen, Police Scotland has just released the Management Information Quarter 3 figures for April to December 2016. These figures detail the number of crimes reported and detected across East Lothian.

I would like to praise my officers and staff, whom I see do their best on a daily basis for the communities they serve in East Lothian, and, of course, our partners. The public of East Lothian have also continued to show their willingness to assist us in our investigations and efforts to reduce crime.

The total number of crimes recorded compared to the previous year have increased slightly. The detection rate is up two per cent on the five-year average.

There has been a slight increase in the number of domestic housebreakings, though the number relates to just nine more crimes compared to the same period last year. Several people have been reported to the Procurator Fiscal in connection with these offences. Whilst there has been a reduction in detection rates in these figures, there has been a 14.6 per cent improvement since the last quarter.

I also acknowledge that crimes of serious assault have shown an increase over this same period, though none have related to incidents at licensed premises. This is in no small way due to a proactive drive of visits to pubs, bars and clubs, 322 in total, ensuring a visible presence and sending a message to would-be offenders.

About 20 per cent of these assaults relate to domestic abuse incidents, a number of which are historical in their nature. Police Scotland is committed to encouraging victims of domestic abuse to report it to the police, either directly or by one of the many remote-reporting methods.

I am aware of the importance of reducing violence to the communities of East Lothian, and my officers, both locally and in specialist units, will continue to robustly investigate violent crime, no matter when it may have occurred.

One of the strands of combating domestic abuse is my officers carrying out proactive bail checks against offenders. This approach has seen the number of offences in breach of bail being reduced by 36 per cent compared with the same period last year.

The number of offensive weapons crimes recorded has also decreased by 33 per cent when looking at the same period last year. We have also seen an increase in detections of fireraisings by 43 per cent, due to hard work and thorough enquiry by my officers.

Motor vehicle-related crime has decreased by 18 per cent, whilst detections have increased by 10 per cent, and 11 per cent more common thefts have been detected over the same period.

Sexual crime has increased, though many offences are historical in nature. Specialist officers continue to investigate these crimes, which by their very nature are time-consuming and complex enquires, some dating as far back as the 1960s.

Detection rates in shoplifting are also up, at the same time as the number of offences has decreased by 11 per cent. I am pleased given these figures also cover the Christmas period, which has traditionally seen an increase in the number of crimes committed, and is due to directed patrols in key areas.

Since March 1, if you are caught using your mobile phone whilst driving you will face a penalty of six points and £200. My officers and road policing colleagues will carry out enforcement and I would remind everyone of the importance of not using their phone behind the wheel.