>> 13 July 2010

Mid-Formartine SNP councillor and former police officer Allan Hendry has praised Grampian Police's new Major Investigation Teams.

The force reorganised its crime and drugs squads into Major Investigation Teams (MITs) in April – and in the first ten weeks under the new system, the two teams have seized £300,000 worth of drugs and £86,000 in cash. Major successes include Operation Sirius, which saw more than 240 people charged with 393 drugs offences.

Commenting, Councillor Allan Hendry – who is a member of Grampian Police Joint Board - said:

"I am delighted at this news and it gives me great pleasure to congratulate Grampian Police on their success in dealing with Serious and Organised Crime.

"I echo the comments made by Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill. These specialised Major Investigation Teams should be congratulated for the hard work they have put into this new style of policing. There is no doubt that these successes will go a long way in reassuring the public that Grampian Police are working hard to ensure that the North-east is a safer place to live.

"I would urge the public to continue giving information to the police when they become aware of criminality, in order that Grampian Police may continue with their intelligence led policing model which has been so successful."

Councillor Hendry went on to question the possible impact on the force's record should Aberdeen's Forensic Science Lab close. He continued:

"However, I wonder how successful they will continue be if the Forensic Science Service is removed from the Grampian Police area or even if the service is reduced. If this were to happen it would effectively remove the immediate personal contact and association that Senior Investigating Officers currently enjoy with the Forensic Science Service.

"I believe that if that were to happen, it would in my view, undoubtedly lead to a reduction in the detection of serious organised crime and violent crime such as rape and murder, as the immediate response from the Forensic Science Service would no longer be available locally.

"The Scottish Police Services Authority should think long and hard if they are considering such a course of action.

"In the meantime, I congratulate Grampian Police for making the North-east a safer place to reside."

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