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Police Inspectors discuss lockdown in Moray Community Safety Partnership report

By Ali Morrison

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THE LATEST local Community Safety Partnership report does not include any crimes or warden-related incidents.

However, area commander for Moray, police chief inspector Norman Stevenson, and inspector for Forres, Lossiemouth and Fochabers, Kerry Rigg, provided updates on how the Force is handling the ongoing coronavirus lockdown.

Chf Insp Stevenson said: "We have continued to respond to crime and protect the vulnerable, but have altered how we go about our business implementing physical distancing in the workplace and when interacting with the public.

"We also use an enhanced assessment of threat, risk, harm and vulnerability to make sure we provide the right response for everyone. We have focussed on continuing appointments where it is right to do so, using the telephone and also exploring technological options to conduct face-to-face video calls with those who require additional reassurance."

He commended the area's special constables who have continued to volunteer assistance despite facing uncertainty in their own lives.

Chf insp Stevenson confirmed he has put a strong emphasis on visibility with increased focused patrols in areas such as parks, beauty spots and town centres, whilst asking for common sense to be considered wherever possible in conjunction with government guidelines.

He finished: "We are developing our planning around the recovery phase but there is no doubt we have challenging times ahead due to the unpredictability of the future. Nothing is insurmountable and we will continue to support the community through these times, keeping them safe."

Insp Rigg explained that, due to the changing priorities police are facing, she was unable to report on all crime in the area this month, other than to say that reported crime is reduced in all areas.

She said: "I would like to thank the vast majority of our communities who have been adhering to the guidelines. I cannot overemphasise the importance of these measures that are undoubtedly saving lives.

"In this new world of social distancing and shielding, our mantra of keeping people safe is still at the very much at the forefront of our work. Officers are carrying out dedicated patrols to ensure the new government guidance is being observed, as well as to regularly check on commercial and industrial properties in the area."

Police Scotland have adopted a policy of 'engage, encourage, explain and enforce'.

"We remain committed to providing a high standard of service in all areas of our business, including the investigation of crime, and I want to encourage our communities to continue to contact us to report matters.

"One of our local officers, PC Barnett, has been deployed to the newly launched Grampian Assistance Hub, which provides people all across Grampian with information on how to access social, practical and emotional support on coronavirus. This hub pulls together links to the latest advice from a range of partners including Moray, Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City Councils, police, health, Red Cross, volunteers and community information. The phoneline is 0808 196 3384, 8am-8pm, seven days-a-week.

"This is a new role for PC Barnett but already she has been able to resource services to the vulnerable, for instance, arranging volunteers to deliver and provide free food parcels to those most at need, arranging for essential medical prescriptions to be delivered to home addresses, offering support and advice to wellbeing volunteers. She is taking great pride in being part of this vital service which has dealt with almost 3000 requests for assistance since launching.

"Stay safe everyone."

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