Northern Constabulary and Partners Working Towards Safer Communities

Issued by the Northern Constabulary

The Chief Constable, in his report today to the Northern Joint Police Board, announced an overall decrease of over 10% in serious crime from April – September 2009 in comparison with the same period last year. Crimes against the person (Class 1) are down 21%.

The results of a community consultation survey aimed at gauging the public’s perception of multi agency services in the area reveals 96% of respondents stating that they feel safe within the areas they live.

Led by Northern Constabulary and supported by The Highland Council, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, the Scottish Court Service, and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, the collaboration provides a further opportunity to listen to the members of the public, obtain their views of crime, community safety and how the partnership communicates with the public and allow the agencies to shape their services in line with public need. 

The top three community concerns relate to road safety, environmental crime (such as litter) and the availability of alcohol to young people, all issues which partners look to address locally as well as across the region. 

Respondents indicated that partner’s priorities should be promoting road safety, tackling the supply of illegal drugs and crime prevention.

Chief Constable Ian Latimer said:  “The information gathered in the survey helps Northern Constabulary and the other partner agencies to collectively inform our annual planning processes and priorities.

“Previous surveys have assisted in providing evidence to initiate and target successful projects such as 'Operation Youth Advantage', Street Sports and 'Streetwise', which contribute towards developing safer communities.

 “In addition to this formal consultation process police officers and staff from the partner agencies attend community meetings across the region and listen and respond to the local issues raised by the public. The Force will also continue to target illegal drugs crime as one of our top priorities. 

“In addition to this, collaborative working through the Single Outcome Agreement is ensuring that partners and the public have a shared view on what should be the priorities for the area, and the community consultation survey has helped to focus this agenda. What is important is that we are all working together to invest in a safer and better future for the Highlands and Islands.”

The Highland Council Convener, Sandy Park said: “This is an important survey for the community planning partnership in Highland; the partnership is committed to ensuring better outcomes for Highland communities including reducing crime and fear of crime.  The survey results provide positive evidence that the partnership is achieving these outcomes.  There is still work to be done in key areas such as reducing problematic alcohol and drug misuse and this is linked to improving drug and alcohol prevention and treatment services and activities”.

Area Procurator Fiscal, Andrew Laing commented:  "Crown Office and the Procurator Fiscal Service believe strongly in listening to our communities and responding to their concerns and the community consultation exercise is a key way of consulting with those we serve.  For example having listened to respondents we have adopted a robust policy in relation to speeding near schools and dangerous overtakes on our main roads. 

"We have also piloted the use of Fiscal Work Orders whereby we have required persons reported to us by the police for crimes against the community to pay back the community by undertaking  work such as picking up litter and providing services to the elderly.”

27 Nov 2009