Attacks down, robberies up

Police Scotland
Police Scotland

Both Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service gave comprehensive reports to Wigtown Area Committee on Wednesday in the Council Offices in Stranraer.

Chief Inspector Mike Hollis went through the details of the police report with elected members, and he was pleased to say that serious injury assaults had reduced 45 per cent in a year.

This was a result of extensive work by the police to tackle violence, including banning violent offenders from licensed premises through the Pubwatch scheme and high visibility visits to pubs.

There was an increase in the number of robberies in Wigtownshire from April 2016 to March 2017, compared to the previous year, up from seven to 13. Eleven occurred in the Stranraer area, one in New Luce and one in Port William. The Inspector said the majority of robberies are between acquaintances with the vast majority of victims and offenders involved in the drug scene. Cash is the main target followed by mobile phones.

The Fire and Rescue Service report revealed that there was an increase in deliberate primary fires, six up from four, with the majority attributed to landowners carrying out agricultural burning. Two incidents involved dwellings where the fire was caused by a child in care. The individual continues to be monitored but has showed positive signs and has not reoffended.

Accidental dwelling fires have increased for 15 to 27 in a year, the majority caused by cooking appliances being left unattended.

One problem identified in the report was an increase in false alarms due to equipment failure. The call outs for this type of incident had gone up from 49 to 87 in year with the worst offenders being the Caledonian Cheese Company, Millburn Court and Stranraer Academy.

Councillor Jim McColm asked what powers the service had to force premises to improve their equipment? The officer replied there were powers under the Fire Safety Act to use enforcement “as a last resort”.