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Looking to 2022 with hope after challenging year

By Alan Beresford

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AS we rapidly approach the end of 2021, we reflect on a year which continues to be heavily impacted by the pandemic and the re-shaping of so many aspects of our lives, writes Chief Superintendent George Macdonald, the North East Divisional Commander for Police Scotland.

Divisional Commander Chief Superintendent George Macdonald: Looking forward to a positive new year.
Divisional Commander Chief Superintendent George Macdonald: Looking forward to a positive new year.

From a policing perspective we have seen a rapid return to the normal demands ranging from community-based issues, child and adult protection matters, road safety, public and private space violence, ever changing threats from cyber or online criminality and a significant increase in vulnerability, mostly linked to mental health.

When you add to this significant crime enquires, weather related resilience responses, COP26 and other areas of business, it is clear to see the range of demands.

The commitment of each and every member of staff throughout this year, regardless of their roles, including volunteers, has been exceptional.

We have continued to look at our approaches and services, particularly those that have had to change or adapt due to the operating environment faced as a result of the pandemic.

What we have tried to do with the broad spectrum of partner agencies across the north-east is assess what has had a positive impact/change and build on these areas and not simply revert to what has always been done. The genuine desire across the partnership is one where we reflect on our service and how we can jointly improve for the benefit of all the communities we serve.

The public response during this year is also of particular mention.

The levels of support and assistance my staff have been offered or received when dealing with a multitude of matters has been excellent. This has been further emphasised in recent weeks through the response to Storm Arwen, where some of the community-led activity and support has been exceptional.

Despite the ongoing focus on the pandemic, this has very much been a year of business as usual from a policing perspective. We have witnessed and responded to significant crime, horrific incidents and the type of calls our communities would expect.

I am acutely aware that many will have been personally affected by some of these matters and my thoughts are with those who have suffered loss or serious harm. I also recognise that whilst we have dealt with many thousands of calls and incidents with a positive outcome, inevitably, there will be things that we could have done better.

If there are areas where we can improve, we will focus on them and strive to provide a better service.

We look forward to 2022, perhaps with more hope and expectation than normal after what has been a challenging and difficult period for everyone.

We would collectively seek improved health, positivity and happiness for the year ahead. There will inevitably be challenges ahead, some new, some more familiar, but we are well placed to deal with these through our experience, knowledge and our overarching ability to work in partnership across the north-east.

I thank you for your continued support and wish you well for the festive period and 2022.

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