Lanarkshire’s top policeman has issued an upbeat assessment of the new Police Scotland national force, asserting that local performance has “exceeded expectations”.
Crimes including robbery, assault and housebreaking all fell significantly during the first year of Police Scotland - which saw north and south Lanarkshire becoming a single operational area.
These postitive figures were flagged up by Divisional Commander CS Nelson Telfer as key hallmarks of a year also marked by controversy over access to local police stations.
He added: “This year we have had 18 less victims of robbery, 22 fewer victims of serious assault, 359 fewer victims of common assault, 9523 fewer crimes of dishonesty (including house breaking) and 9733 fewer incidents of anti-social behaviour.
“In addition, our detection rate for serious crime is in excess of 80 per cent, which as well as being an all time high, sends out a particularly strong message that where you are intent on committing an act of violence in Lanarkshire, there is a very strong possibility that you will be arrested and put custody to court the next lawful day.”
CS Telfer says public trust and confidence in local police “has never been higher” and argues the national non-emergency phone number 101 has been a success, receiving more than 1.6 million calls.
He does not mention the concern surrounding curtailment of access at some police stations, and insists “we have never been more accessible”.
Besides being able to arrange special appointments for residents with community officcers, the Division is said to be able to rely on increased resources.
CS Telfer said: “We have also successfully deployed non-frontline officers on 924 occasions to tackle violence and anti-social behaviour in the local area and through this combined approach we are protecting the most vulnerable and locking up those who cause most harm right across Lanarkshire.”
The next year will include Lanarkshire’s participation in the enormous police and security operation surrounding the Commonwealth Games in July - a massive undertaking requiring national resources.
Beyond that major addition to normal concerns the agenda for the year ahead will again concentrate on driving down crime figures - where the figures point to significant success.
CS Telfer said: “Lanarkshire Division will continue to reduce violence, tackle serious and organised crime and increase road safety and by doing this we will reduce the victims of crime and continue to make Lanarkshire a safer place to live, work and invest.”