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North-east communities urged to have their say on police service

By Alan Beresford

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FOR any police force to be effective, it is absolutely crucial that the public we serve have confidence in what we do.

North East Divisional Commander, Chief Superintendent George Macdonald. Picture: Police Scotland
North East Divisional Commander, Chief Superintendent George Macdonald. Picture: Police Scotland

Our communities are key to providing us with information to help solve crime - and your cooperation and trust is often the key to ensuring the north-east remains a safe and welcoming place to live, work and visit.

Last year Police Scotland launched the ‘Your Police’ 2020/21 survey, an opportunity to ask all our communities about their opinions of policing in their local area, as well as any concerns they had regarding their safety or wellbeing during such a challenging year.

It was the largest survey of its kind in the UK to involve the public in a conversation about policing and Covid-19 and tens of thousands of people took the time to get involved, including thousands here in the north-east.

The survey feedback was published recently and highlighted strong levels of public confidence both nationally and locally. Sixty per cent of people said they had confidence in our policing approach in the north-east – an increase of seven percentage points on the previous year pre-Covid 19 – and slightly higher than the national public confidence rate of 57 per cent.

In addition, 84 per cent of the total respondents said they feel safe in the area they live while 87 per cent of those who came into contact with the police felt that their needs were properly understood.

The support we have received over the past year from our communities across Grampian has meant a huge amount to us all and I am grateful to see such a significant rise in public confidence in our officers and staff, ­­all of whom have gone over and above to protect and serve our communities in challenging circumstances.

The restrictions changed often – and quickly – however we continued to serve with common sense, empathy and discretion to work with our fellow citizens to help keep everyone safe.

In addition to measuring public confidence, the survey results were also reviewed on a weekly basis and helped all Divisions across Scotland to respond to emerging issues, shaping our approaches to policing as the pandemic evolved. This response included increasing our presence at identified key locations, something that was particularly important to those living in rural areas with lower Covid-19 rates who had concerns about domestic tourism from other regions with higher rates.

We also enhanced our digital public contact including introducing online reporting for Covid-19 breaches, and introducing video appointments and community meetings for safe and accessible face-to-face contact. The feedback also ensured officers had an awareness of the needs and challenges of everyone, including those living with physical, sensory and learning difficulties, in practising social distancing and using face masks.

The survey was temporarily paused at the end of March this year to collate last year’s results and has since restarted to help us continue understanding the views and priorities of our diverse communities. I would strongly encourage you to take part in the ‘Your Police’ 2021/22 survey and let us know what matters to you.

Thank you once again for the support you have shown to Police at this extraordinary time. Continue to look after yourself and your loved ones and please play your part in keeping our communities safe.

To access the survey visit https://consult.scotland.police.uk/surveys/your-police-2021-2022/

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