On Patrol, with Inspector John McCluskey

THE winter has certainly arrived in the last week, and it has arrived with a cold snap that has caught a number of drivers out across the Formartine area. This time of year brings many challenges for drivers and I would ask that you consider whether you are prepared for the winter weather and ensure that both you and your vehicle are ready before you venture out.

In crime news:

Over the weekend of 23-26 November 2012, a section of guttering was damaged at the Ellon Resource Centre, Station Road, Ellon. This appears to have been done deliberately.

A blue Renault motor car, which was parked within the Ellon Park & Ride Car Park during the day of 26 November 2012, had damage caused when one of its windows was smashed.

On 29 November 2012, a dog walker’s van was scratched while it was parked in Eigie Close, Balmedie.

Overnight between the 1st and 2nd of December 2012, a stereo was stolen from a car in Gordon Place, Ellon. This is a quiet residential area.

Did you see anyone unusual or acting suspiciously in these areas? If so, let us know. You can contact us on 0845 600-5-700 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Remember, all calls to Crimestoppers are free.

In other news, you will start to see officers on patrol wearing Body Worn Video Cameras, these have been rolled out across Aberdeenshire and this has been led by my colleague Inspector John Esson who said;

“The use of these cameras by Police, Community and Traffic Wardens throughout Aberdeenshire could cut crime, improve service delivery, reduce time Officers spend on paperwork and provide staff with some additional protection.”

The cameras which will become universally available to Police Officers as well as Community and Traffic Wardens in Aberdeenshire on 3 December 2012 will be a valuable new tool in the fight against crime.

Not only will they provide visible, audible and potentially crucial evidence, they will also act as a deterrent as people generally amend their behaviour when they know they are on police camera.

Inspector Esson added: “The use of these cameras in Aberdeen city has already shown that they can assist in bringing early guilty pleas and result in less time being spent in court for both our Officers and the victims of crime. The reduction in time spent on paperwork will also allow our Local Policing Teams to spend more time in their communities.”

The cameras, which are smaller and lighter than a mobile phone, will be worn overtly on the upper body. They take clear and accurate digital images, which can show compelling evidence, enabling any incident captured to be replayed in the courts and their use is particularly effective at combating anti-social behaviour and alcohol-fuelled disorder. As the cameras accurately record the actions of all those involved it also provides for increased accountability and transparency.

Inspector Esson said that strict rules governing the use of the cameras had been put in place.

He said: “Any image which isn’t required for evidence or other policing purposes will be destroyed and where practical, Officers will inform people when they are being filmed. The versatility of the cameras will also ensure that their use can be targeted to address the unique and individual priorities of all Local Policing Teams.”

The cameras were introduced after consultation with the Scottish Police Federation, who have given their support to the scheme.