I have now been in post for nearly six month months and I have to say that the time has flown past.
It’s been a busy time, with officers deployed to several national events, including The Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup. However I have been keen to ensure that local policing remained at the core of the service I deliver.
There have been challenges over this time. I have seen a problem arising where youth disorder has been reported in and around Oldmeldrum.
We have addressed this by engaging with local schools and the youths themselves and ensuring that Police conducted patrols at the right time and place. I would emphasise that Oldmeldrum should be proud of its youth and it is only a small group who let others down. Indeed, on the back of a recent operation which saw officers on foot, bike and in plainclothes several youths were apprehended regarding a spate of vandalism.
We continue to see to many people being injured on our roads. In tackling this I have been proactively ensuring that my officers are out conducting education and enforcement at the right times and places.
Tragically, there have been several fatalities on our roads, however these are not linked by any common cause and in fact I have seen a 21% reduction in the number of people injured in comparison to the same period last year.
My officers have been making good use of a mobile speed sign, which can be placed at sites where the community is concerned about speeding.
I have also been supported by the Formartine Community Safety and Planning groups in securing funding to purchase a second device which will make our roads that bit safer.
We continue to receive complaints about people parking dangerously around our schools. Wherever possible my officers will attend schools at pick up and drop-off times to keep our children safer. I know we have educated many parents about inconsiderate parking and I am afraid I must advise that my current guidance to officers is that we will be enforcing parking legislation near schools going forward. So please if you do drive to school, please take extra time to ensure you park safely.
Weekends during December are always busy for Police as everyone enjoys festive cheer. To allow everyone to enjoy nights out in safety I have had extra Police on patrol on Friday and Saturday nights.
They have been focusing on licensed premises and I would urge everyone to ‘Party safe’, - plan ahead for your night out, stick with your friends and be sensible about how much you drink.
Other festive advice I would give is:
Shop safe (outside or at home) - Stay alert at cash machines and make sure that your internet security is up to date before shopping online.
Home safety - Make sure that your home is kept secure and that gifts aren’t left in view through windows or doors. There has been a number of thefts in Ellon and Oldmeldrum recently, where insecure homes and cars have been entered and property including car keys and vehicles stolen. We are following lines of enquiry regarding these and several persons have been apprehended in connection with attempted thefts in Tarves.
We are really fortunate to have exceptionally low crime figures, but that often makes us complacent. Securing your home and car at night is easier than worrying about an insurance claim in the New Year.
I’ll be spending Hogmanay working at ‘Gig at the Brig’, the planning of which is well underway. It looks like it will be a fun family, successful event again and I look forward to meeting some of you there.
Finally, I’d just like to take the opportunity to wish everyone a merry Christmas and Happy New Year.