ONE YEAR ON
As we reach the first anniversary of Police Scotland, the focus on ‘Keeping People Safe’ has never been as important to Dumfries and Galloway Divisional Commander Chief Superintendent Kate Thomson. “The past year saw unprecedented change across Scotland when all eight legacy forces merged into Police Scotland. However, through the significant change that such a huge reform brings, our officers and staff across the Division have kept their eye on the ball, their feet on the ground and carried on delivering what I still consider to be a first class service to the communities across the region. Where some of our processes and procedures may have changed over the past year, the way in which our people do business has fundamentally not changed. We still consult with and listen to our communities to make sure we are tackling the problems that they tell us they have. We still work hard with our partners to help address these issues, and to be honest, local policing continues to deliver results. When I go about the region I do get the impression that there has been little noticeable difference for the public in our day to day dealings with them.
“Yes we have had a very busy start to the new service here in Dumfries and Galloway, and the Division was tested early on with some very serious crimes and incidents. What we were able to do, under Police Scotland, was to take advantage of the national support available across Scotland to help tackle some of these issues. Support has been given by the Major Investigation Team for some of the serious crime issues we have had to deal with. Support was given from the force helicopter and marine and underwater unit in specialist searches for missing persons, as well as assistance from the mounted division and mobile support units to help police some of the larger events across the area.
“This is still very much a work in progress” explains the Commander. “Year two will bring just as many challenges as we move to further transform the service. However, I am confident that we have the right people in the right positions to keep the Division, and the force moving forward and performing to what I have heard described as ‘at a phenomenal level.’ We will continue to work hard to maintain our very strong community links. This is the cornerstone of how we do our policing here in Dumfries and Galloway, and it fits right into Police Scotland’s plans to ‘strengthen the connection between the Service and its communities’.
“Listening to our communities gives us the basis for planning our priorities for the coming years. We understand that antisocial behaviour, violence and disorder in our communities are a concern, and our plans aim to continue to address these areas as a matter of priority. Likewise, keeping safe those who use our extensive roads network in the region is also a priority. Our focus on domestic abuse will continue on from year one, where every reported incident of domestic abuse was thoroughly investigated. Our approach to incidents of domestic abuse now means that victims feel much more confident about coming forward to report this type of crime. I do think that the confidence of the public in Police Scotland is strong in Dumfries and Galloway and this is perhaps reflected through our policy of stop and search, which has gained much media attention. Stop and search is carried out on a proactive, intelligence led basis which focuses on weapons, drugs and alcohol, and our experience in this area indicates that many of our searches prove positive. This in turn helps to build public confidence in the manner in which we carry out the searches, the overall goal being to maintain the safety of the public and keep our communities safe.
“Overall, my thoughts are that whilst we have done a lot, we have a lot to do, but are definitely on the right track to keep the people in this area of Scotland as safe as they have been, and as safe as they can be. We are not alone on this journey however and I fully acknowledge the support and assistance we continue to receive from our communities, our partners and our local elected members in all their efforts to help us keep Dumfries and Galloway as safe a place as it can be.