Westhill Police Station staffing

Opening hours of Police Station – since the Service point  relocated to the library at Westhill Primary, residents wanting to deal with police business have been met with a locked door at the station. I have asked for an update from the Chief Inspector who advises that local members were to be consulted but due to annual leave etc, this has not happened. You will recall that following a consultation in 2013, the decision was that Westhill Police Station would be re-classified as a category E station i.e. shared service public counter provision. Since the decision was made by Aberdeenshire Council to relocate our side of the service, Police Scotland have not engaged with local members on their staffing arrangements. I am hopeful that we can get an early meeting so that residents can be kept up to date.

Better late than never for views on armed police to be heard

Armed police

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Alison McInnes has written about the Scottish Police Authority’s consultation on armed police. 

“I shared the shock of many of my constituents when I first learnt that some of Scotland’s national police officers were undertaking routine duties whilst overtly carrying guns.

It used to be that firearms were largely kept in the boot of a police car and accessed only when needed. Now, armed officers patrol streets across Scotland with guns in their holsters at all times.

The Chief Constable ordered this change should take place without consultation. Parliament wasn’t told, local councillors were kept in the dark, and no effort was made to explain to the public how the way they are policed would alter or how the specific needs of their communities had been taken into account.

The SNP promised us that the new national force wouldn’t impose sweeping changes upon local communities from a distant HQ. However, it took months for anyone to investigate this and meaningfully consider the widespread concerns expressed by campaign groups, Highland Council and the public.

The two retrospective reviews now being conducted by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) and the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) are better late than never.

The Scottish Police Authority is seeking to hear your views on the new nationwide armed policing policy before Friday 17 October. The consultation can be found here.

If you are concerned about armed police undertaking routine patrols, this is your opportunity to make your voice heard. If you feel let down by this fundamentally undemocratic decision-making process, this is your chance to challenge those in charge.”

Alison McInnes

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson

Do count your chickens……….


At last week’s Westhill & Elrick community council meeting, Police Scotland gave an update on local crime statistics.

Among the incidents recorded in the area were theft of a pushchair from the charity shop, Barnardos, fire-raising on the grounds of Westhill Academy, taxi fraud, road rage, breach of the peace involving youths and the theft of some hens along with their chicks.

Remember, the new number for non-emergencies to Police Scotland is 101 if you have any information on these crimes or want to report any new incidents.


Aberdeenshire Alliance Councillors comment on Police Scotland

At the Full Council meeting yesterday, Aberdeenshire Councillors considered a report on the Scottish Police Authority and agreed to report comments to the Scottish Parliament Justice Sub-Committee.
The three main topics for discussion were :-
Road safety education
Effectiveness and implications of  a target driven culture.
Councillors also expressed concern about the numbers of Officers and civilian staff that have left the force since Police scotland was formed. The Scottish Government gave a commitment that Officer numbers would not fall below 17,234 accross Scotland and yet specific details on Police Officer staffing and resource availability in Aberdeenshire since 1st April 2013 is not available.
Police Scotland has taken a step back from road safety education and now expects Councils to take on this important role. Road Safety Advisors have been reduced from ten to two in Aberdeenshire. This reduced provision will leave a gap in service provision with an estimated cost of £250,000 to Aberdeenshire
Council to fund the events, including the two day “Driving Ambition” event for S6 pupils which will no longer be provided by the Police.
Police Stations are also under review with proposals to withdraw the public counter service from Aboyne and Portsoy, with reduced hours at four other Stations. Police Scotland are under great pressure to produce Budget savings but this should not be to the detriment of the Police service to the residents of Aberdeenshire.
Performance reporting now appears to be target driven in line with Scottish Government’s four Strategic Policing Priorities and the Seven Strategic Objectives of Policing. A number of police performance indicators, previously reported, are not included in the Local Authority Scrutiny Board report.
The effect of this is that Councillors do not have the same detailed performance information to allow appropriate challenge.
Councillors comments will be forwarded to the Scottish Parliament’s Sub-Committee on Local policing. The Council will continue to monitor the service developments within Police Scotland and the impact on local services.
Councillors unanimously praised the work of local police officers who do a sterling job under difficult circumstances.

Garioch Police Team urge residents to lock up and look out!

police july 2013

Following reports of thefts from houses, garages and cars in the Kintore area between 22 and 23rd November, Police Scotland would like to urge people across the Garioch to take effective precautions to ensure they do not become the victims of opportunist thieves.

Sergeant Andy Sawers of the Garioch Community Policing Team said “We are encouraging local residents to lock their homes, garages, sheds and cars when they go to bed, remove the keys from the locks and store them in a secure location and to consider using alarms. They should always remove any valuable items from vehicles and not leave any items in view to reduce the likelihood of them becoming victims of crime.

“Aberdeenshire remains one of the safest areas in the country, however complacency can set in.”

Police Scotland would also like to take the opportunity to remind people that as the winter months and dark nights approach, properties with little security can become easy targets. They would like to remind residents to close windows and doors, leave some lights on, whether on timers and to use appropriate locks.

Sergeant Sawers continued “We encourage any residents who witness any type of suspicious behaviour who have any information to contact Police Scotland by telephoning 101 or in the case of emergency 999. If you want to remain anonymous you can telephone Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

Westhill Crime Figures June

 police july 2013

Update from local police officers to the June meeting of Westhill & Elrick Community Council:

There have been 23 crime records raised during the period 09/05/13 – 13/06/13 including:

Seven people reported to the Procurator Fiscal for Road Traffic Offences following Road Traffic Operation.

One person reported for drink driving and two persons reported for careless driving. One of these was following a collision.

Two thefts by shoplifting for which there are positive lines of enquiry. Theft of a motorbike and theft of materials from a company within Westhill. Theft of a quad bike from a farm building has lines of enquiry that are being followed up.

Two reports of threatening and abusive behaviour during a neighbour dispute – both parties have been warned regarding  their behaviour.

One assault between family members, suspect has been identified.


Belated photos of Grampian Police Excellence Awards

Just catching up with posting photos of the end of last year’s Grampian Police Excellence Awards where I had the pleasure of both judging and presenting some of the awards. It was a super event and fantastic to hear about all the good work being undertaken by staff.


Cllr Walker presents Highly Commended certificate in the Learning category to Colin Bain (left) and Sgt. Rob Sturton (right), from the Force's Quality Review Unit

Cllr Walker presents Highly Commended certificate in the Learning category to Colin Bain (left) and Sgt. Rob Sturton (right), from the Force’s Quality Review Unit

Cllr Walker presents Lorraine Warren (left), Flexible Learning Support Office, with her award as winner of the Learning category.  Also pictured is Debbie Spence (right).

Cllr Walker presents Lorraine Warren (left), Flexible Learning Support Office, with her award as winner of the Learning category. Also pictured is Debbie Spence (right).


So long, farewell to Grampian Police

End of Grampian

At midnight tonight, 31st March, 2013, Grampian Police along with the other seven forces in Scotland no longer exist. Anything with the above logo on it will be cast aside, thrown out or stashed as a keepsake to make way for a dream dreamt in Holyrood of one national police force under central control.

Grampian Police was formed on 16 May 1975 when the former forces of Aberdeen City Police and the Scottish North Eastern Counties Constabulary (SNECC) amalgamated on the re-organisation of local government.

Mr Colin McKerracher was appointed Chief Constable of Grampian Police on 12 April 2004 and leaves today proud of the force he hands over to Police Scotland.

Since joining Grampian Police, Mr McKerracher has been instrumental in achieving a more community based policing approach across the Force. This function came to fruition when the Force introduced a community focussed policing model under the banner “Local Policing, closer to you”. This model provides dedicated Local Policing Teams in each of the 24 local policing areas across the Force. He has ensured that national best practice and policy has been adopted by the Force to help reduce road traffic collisions and casualties.

He had overall responsibility for the policing of offshore installations, Royal residences on Deeside, as well as Aberdeen International Airport.

Of his many ambitions for Grampian Police, he believed primarily in developing an integrated organisational and planning structure capable of supporting community based policing to achieve real outcomes that meet community needs.  Core to this, he challenged historical practice, focussed minds on the empowerment and development of staff and he reintroduced the Police Cadet Scheme to Grampian Police, having identified the benefits to both the Force and youth in the local community.

There remains a wealth of experienced and dedicated officers who will now work under two divisions locally: Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire and Moray. I know that our local teams are adopting a “business as usual” attitude and will continue to serve our communities. Semper Vigilo will prevail.

The full impact though on police numbers, pay and conditions remains to be seen and it is widely reported that the bill was ill-thought out and rushed through. Joint police boards which up to now have played an effective scrutiny role are disbanded and just how much input into local policing plans local elected members will have is unclear.

Whether April Fools Day 2013 is remembered for the Scottish Government’s folly for policing in Scotland remains to be seen. I hope not. We need to make it work.