A north-east inspector is planning to increase the number of officers on patrol in rural and isolated locations to target persistent community criminals.
In a bid to engage more with communities in Aberdeenshire, Formartine inspector Andy Scott hosted three events to meet with members of the public and hear about issues in their area.
His first community surgeries, in Ellon, Oldmeldrum and Turriff, concluded yesterday and highlighted the issues every different area was experiencing.
Although he wasn’t surprised by the findings, the unique problems showed him where more work was needed.
He said: “All three areas have very different concerns showing the issues are unique to each community – what’s happening in Ellon isn’t the same as what goes on in Turriff.
“In Police Scotland, we have divisional breakdowns and even within our areas, but we don’t have it between the communities, so the feedback has filled that gap.
“In Turriff, there are problems with anti-social driving and the noise associated with it.
“For Ellon, it’s anti-social behaviour in parks, dark spaces with lower lighting and garages .
“In Oldmeldrum, it’s the obvious road safety issues.
“It’s what we expected, but it’s given us the opportunity to try to identify some hotspots we’re going to focus on over the next few weeks and months.
“In addition to working with rural groups like farmers and community councils and sending alerts to them for specific things in their locations, this means we can properly allocate our resources.
“Foot patrols will be increased in rural areas and isolated locations – parts of that which is based on the information given to us from these events.”
Mr Scott also announced the appointment of a new community beat officer for the area who will be continuing the engagement as well as arranging future surgeries to continue the public involvement.
He urged the public to attend the drop-in sessions which will likely be held in August to give “invaluable” input.
Local councillors Anne Stirling and Alastair Forsyth were at the sessions and the latter was enthusiastic about the level of public interest.
He said: “These events are extremely important and are the building blocks of successful community policing.
“Mr Scott now realises that in Turriff there should be different targets to Ellon which will help police be more effective.”
Mrs Stirling was also keen to promote the interaction to help people get used to talking to officers and said: “This is the start of something we should all support now and in the future.”