Fighting crime in Newton Stewart

Wednesday 20th April'Inspector Stuart Davidson'Community Safety Officer Helen McMiken
Wednesday 20th April'Inspector Stuart Davidson'Community Safety Officer Helen McMiken

POLICE in Newton Stewart and Mid Galloway are winning the war against crime, a senior officer said this week.

And area commander Inspector Stuart Davidson revealed that latest figures showed his officers now enjoyed a 93.5 per cent satisfaction rate among members of the community.

The senior officer was speaking on a visit to The Galloway Gazette this week to discuss the impact on the area of statistics released by Dumfries and Galloway Chief Constable Patrick Shearer a fortnight ago.

And he told editor Robin Young that among the most noticeable achievements was a 68 per cent success rate where offences of dishonesty were concerned: “This means two out of three are being dected.”

Criminal damage is also on the decline, with a 64.7 per cent detection rate for vandalism.

Over the past three years, crime locally has fallen by an average of 13 per cent, with 700 fewer reported incidents in Dumfries and Galloway.

According to the inspector, who took up the top post just eight months ago: “In Newton Stewart and Mid Galloway our detection rate sits at 68 percent.

“That highlights the good work done by the police in co-operation with the public. I’m really pleased with these figures!”

Other examples of above-average results include a clampdown on the supply of illegal drugs and a curb on anti-social behaviour, particularly by young “street racers”, two of whom are to appear in court charged with careless driving.

Inspector Davidson was accompanied on his visit to The Gazette by Community Safety Officer Helen McMiken, now back on the beat after a career break to raise a family.

She said a dramatic fall in the number of deaths and serious injuries caused by traffic accidents was due in part to an initiative aimed at .young people before they even got behind the wheel.

However, both officers said they were disappointed that a letter printed in the paper on April 8 had claimed residents no longer had faith in the police because of the antics of boy and girl racers.

“If people have no faith in the police they should come and tell us so that we can look at their concerns,” the inspector said.

Although pleased by the “very positive” crime detection figures, he added: “We don’t want anybody to be complacent.

“If you suspect crime or see anti-social behaviour in your area, let us know.”

l Crimebeat: Pages 8&9