Key Issues from November Board Meeting
Published: Thursday, 08 December 2011
Find out more about the issues that were discussed at the Board meeting on 14 November 2011.
Continued fall in crime
Members congratulated the Chief Constable on the continued reduction in crime in the Force area. Crimes against the individual (groups 1 to 4) showed a 5% reduction in volume, and an increase in detection rates compared to the same period last year.
Interested in crime statistics for your local area?
Monthly crime statistics for all the wards in the Lothian and Borders area are now available on the Force website.
UK Community Police Officer of the Year
Sergeant Scott Meechan, who is based in Midlothian, was awarded the UK Community Police Officer of the Year by the Home Secretary at a ceremony in London last month.
The Award acknowledges the innovative work undertaken by Sgt Meechan (including in his own time) to improve facilities and to make positive differences to communities throughout Midlothian . His notable achievements include:
- the refurbishment of the Pathhead Village Hall in partnership with IKEA
- helping to establish the Top Service Seed to Soup Project, a community garden project providing support, advice and education to young people who are experiencing difficulties at school
Sgt Meechan is a people person with a genuine desire to change the quality of life within his community, both he and his team have made a demonstrable impact on local people.
The Chief Constable and local Board Members have expressed their personal appreciation for Sgt Meechan's efforts and the Board will send him a letter of congratulations.
Inspection of the Board and the Force
The Board and the Force have recently been the subject of a joint audit and inspection by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary for Scotland and Audit Scotland .
The results of the audit were considered by the Board, and both the Convener and Chief Constable welcomed the report as largely "very positive", highlighting the many areas of good practice across the Force. The full report was published on December 6 on the Audit Scotland website.
The Board is projected to make over £6m savings during the current financial and year and a further £3.6m in the next year mainly through the successful implementation of the Force's Transforming the Service efficiency programme.
Chief Constable's update
The Chief Constable updated the Board on the major events that had taken place since the last Board meeting in August.
- £21,190 drugs seized
- £13,000 counterfeit goods seized
- £6.4 million worth of assets identified for seizure
- 77 vehicle offences uncovered
- £468,000 cash seized throughout campaign
44 people so far have been charged as a result of the operation, and community officers across the force have recently distributed postcards to homes in areas where there has been activity. All of this work is designed to thank members of the public for helping make this operation a success and provide reassurance that we are tackling real issues in their communities.
Unite Against Fascism March
In September, over 400 participants from Unite Against Fascism marched along Princes St in protest at a static demonstration by 200 supporters Scottish Defence League. Both demonstrations were policed without incident and without any arrests.
National Black Police Association (NBPA)
Edinburgh recently hosted the annual conference of the NBPA which represents the Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) police officers and the interests of BME communities throughout the UK.
Charles Crichlow President of the NBPA said that:
"The National Black Police Association (NBPA) conference held in the City of Edinburgh was a fantastic success. Police Officers and Staff from throughout the UK and across Europe were delighted at the warmth of welcome and hospitality by the people of Edinburgh. Marching through the city in uniform was a memorable experience, particularly for many of those who were visiting the historic city for the very first time.
We want to thank the City of Edinburgh for making our stay in Scotland a wonderful occasion and a spectacular celebration ofthe diversity of our country".
Changes to front counter opening hours in police stations
The Board discussed proposed changes to the opening hours of public counters including the closure of public counters at four stations, a reduction in opening hours in five stations and enhanced opening hours at three stations.
The front counters identified for closure are rarely used, and there would be a number of alternative means of contacting officers including the static telephones and home visits by officers through appointments.
The Board heard that the public has been consulted in relation to the proposed changes in West Lothian but they sought further consultation by the force in East Lothian, Midlothian and the Borders, prior to implementing the proposed changes.
The proposals regarding West Lothian were agreed by Members. Police stations in the Edinburgh area were not included in any proposals as a separate review was completed in 2009 and no further changes were recommended at this time.
Disposal of former police stations
Members approved the disposal of five former disused police stations: Danderhall, Mid Calder, Newcastleton, West Linton and Innerleithen but asked that consultation take place in respect of the local community's use of Earlston police station. The disposal of all these properties has the potential to generate £250,000 and will save over £31,000 a year in running costs.
Following Members' suggestions, the Chief Constable will investigate the potential deployment of alternative resources for community contact in the Scottish Borders.
How do we regard the police?
The Chief Constable reported on the annual public perception survey of 3,000 residents which took place during June and July 2011 to help the Force understand residents' views about policing and community safety in their area.
You can find out how your local neighbourhood perceives the Force by looking at the ward level results on its website.
Working in partnership in East Lothian
The Board heard of the many partnership activities that the Force is contributing to in East Lothian including:
- Operation Ether - an initiative to tackle antisocial behaviour in rural communities using mobile police stations
- an hour long fortnightly radio programme East Coast FM to provide advice, appeal for information and to offer public reassurance
- initiatives within the White Ribbon Campaign which aims to tackle violence against women
Local Board Members took the opportunity to thank the Chief Constable for the "exceptional support" being offered by the Force to Council initiatives in Prestonpans and Tranent. Members conveyed their appreciation of local officers gained from recent first-hand experience of operational police activity.
Lay Diversity Scheme
The Board approved a campaign to recruit six new Lay Diversity Advisers to its Lay Diversity Scheme.
Lay Diversity Advisers are independent members of the community who monitor and influence police strategy and operations in relation to diversity and equality. They scrutinise police community relations and the police investigation of hate crime including critical incidents.
If you would like to apply for these positions please contact the Police Board on 0131 529 4240 (Lay Diversity Advisers Scheme) or email email@example.com.
This initiative is part of the Made From Crime campaign in which the Force is targeting the illegal assets held by criminals by effectively using the Proceeds of Crime Act. In a recent 48 hour campaign that ran across the Force, over 280 officers and staff conducted 25 house searches and various road checks that led to: