Council to Highlight Positive Policing to Parliamentary Committee

>> 23 January 2014

Aberdeenshire Council will make a submission to the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Sub-Committee on Policing highlighting how police reform has impacted positively on local communities.

The request from parliament for views on newly-merged Police Scotland will also highlight areas which are giving cause for concern.

Shadow Leader of the Council Cllr Hamish Vernal felt the report given to councillors was not sufficiently positive in its approach and not giving an accurate picture of the reality of policing on the ground. He said:

“I agree with the Administration where it suggests that the Parliamentary Committee should scrutinise police performance in road safety education, crime prevention and effectiveness of the police force. Where I disagree is that there is no mention in this report of the many positive aspects to local policing which have happened since police reform.

“We need to present to Parliament a balanced view of local policing but also an accurate one and I am pleased that the SNP Group was able to build consensus with the Administration Group to amend the council’s submission to reflect that.”

SNP Deputy Group Leader Cllr Stephen Smith said:

“We know – because officers attending Community Council meetings have said so – that our local police now have more access to more resources than they did under Grampian Police. That is to be welcomed.

“Recent police initiatives such as that against violent crime, which saw serious assaults fall by 84% over the same period last year, and the success just this week in apprehending several individuals in connection with a recent spate of housebreakings in Peterhead demonstrate that the decision to put ‘bobbies before boundaries’ has been vindicated.

“42 extra officers were deployed in connection with the anti-violence initiative and the Buchan Area now has an increased staffing complement compared with the situation under Grampian Police.

“It is right that the council, when asked to comment, should flag up areas of concern – and there are bound to be concerns with any re-organisation. But we should also be highlighting what is going well and being done better, so that there is a greater awareness and understanding which we can build on.”

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