Newton Stewart Police Inspector Amanda Scott takes time to reflect on the first year of Police Scotland from a local perspective.
Amanda told The Galloway Gazette; “Police Scotland is now one year old, and whilst there have been many changes in bringing the eight police forces of Scotland together I would like to think that we are delivering business as usual to our communities in Newton Stewart and the Machars, and are keeping people safe.
“There has been a lot of publicity about Police Station opening times; we said good buy to one of our longest serving members of police staff at Newton Stewart and the front counter opening hours were changed similar to other areas across Scotland. Newton Stewart is now open from 8.30am to 2pm Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, but if there is an officer in the building we will be open.
“One of the other big changes was the introduction of the single number for non emergency calls all you need to remember is 101. There are other ways to get information about what is happening and what we are doing in the local community, you can check out the Police Scotland website at www.scotland.police.uk or follow us on our local facebook page, Dumfries and Galloway Division and twitter @GallowayPolice.
“We have dealt with a wide variety of calls and incidents over the past year. There have been instances of thefts of tools from works vans, domestic heating oil and diesel from rural forestry locations. We are working hard to try and find those responsible, and are working together with our colleagues in Crime Reduction to make it harder for people to commit crime. We still offer free crime reduction surveys, please contact 101 and ask for your local crime reduction officer, Constable Lynne Steel.
“We now have the benefit of being able to call on specialist departments to help us tackle incidents in our area; we have seen major investigation teams, support unit officers and the helicopter assisting with incidents. This is something that we would not have previously has access to. You helped us to set out priorities for Newton Stewart and the Machars. We are focused on antisocial behaviour, road safety, drugs and public protection.
“We have already seen a reduction in reports of antisocial behaviour and will continue to work with our partners in the Council Community Safety Team to identify and target areas and people who are responsible for this type of behaviour in our community. We are working together with our colleagues in the road policing unit to reduce casualties in our area; we are also working with our schools to educate our future young drivers. We have recently seized drugs from two houses in the area, with people being reported to the Procurator Fiscal for supply of controlled substances, removing the drugs from the street and our community. Domestic abuse is a priority for Police Scotland and we will robustly investigate any incidents reported to us.
“I live in the local community and your concerns are my concerns. The local police officers are doing heir very best to keep people safe, but as you know we cover a very large area and I would ask for your support. Please report any suspicious activity, you can speak to a local police officer, contact 101 or make a report to crimestoppers on 0800555111. Any information the public supply is appreciated and vital to help us target criminals.
“You can see one year on and we are still very much focused on our local community in Newton Stewart and the Machars. We hope to continue to improve our service to make sure that this remains one of the best places to live and work.”