An Inspector calls time on career with the force

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LONG-SERVING Formartine Inspector Steve Pratt is getting set for retirement, after 30 years of service.

Inspector Pratt, who writes the police column for the Ellon Times, said that he had enjoyed his 10 years in the area, and that he had no concrete plans for his retirement. He added that he was confident for the future of local policing, describing the adoption of his ‘community policing’ model across Grampian as a high point of his career.

Joining the police 30 years ago, PC Steve Pratt spent time in Banff, New Pitsligo and Fraserburgh as well as in the CID, before coming to Ellon as Inspector for Formartine.

“I don’t remember a eureka moment when I decided to be a policeman,” he told the Times. “Nobody else in my family is in the police, it was just something I wanted to do from my early teenage years.

“Policing is an easy job - very straightforward. But it’s made difficult by bureaucracy. One of the things I’ve done in my time at Formartine is to streamline things. I’ve had a good level of autonomy from divisional commanders to make changes.

“I’d say the thing I’m most proud of is the fact that my community policing model has been adopted across Grampian Police. The police can’t be aloof, or come across as being arrogant. We have to be available and approachable, and to make promises we can keep.”

He added that he didn’t anticipate the new centralised police force to affect Formartine in the short term.

“There will be challenges at divisional command, but not at this level,” he said. “A lot of what we are doing in Formartine might serve as a lesson for other areas.

“In my personal opinion, in the medium to long term, you might see posts being moved across the country to places where policing needs are heavier.”

Speaking about those he had worked with in his time in Formartine, Inspector Pratt said that he was hugely grateful to the agencies and individuals he had worked with over the years.

“We receive lots of support in our work from both the council, the councillors and community councils. The councillors in Formartine have been a massive help to the police, and we’ve got a very good working relationship with them. We all work together very well. The area is also very well served by its community councils - and indeed, the local press, who have been very supportive.”

Inspector Pratt, who is a part time football coach with both Aberdeen FC and Turriff United, added that he had no concrete plans for his retirement. No plans at all,” he said. “Absolutely none. Though I’ll be spending more time with my family.”