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Forres police report local crimes over last month and focus on youth community initiative

By Ali Morrison

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Community officers Michelle McDonald and Stephanie Bayliss have already spoken to numerous youths.
Community officers Michelle McDonald and Stephanie Bayliss have already spoken to numerous youths.

THE monthly community safety report for Forres records incidents of assault, attempted robbery, possession of an illegal substance, vandalism, housebreaking, theft and motor offences.

Local police inspector Tony McCullie read it out and answered questions from Forres Community Council at the watchdog’s last virtual meeting which discussed complaints of youth disorder around the town.

Insp McCullie said: “Community officers have already formed a Friday night squad to attend areas where there have been complaints of youth annoyance. And, as of June 26, we will be stepping up patrols with a focus on conversation. We will be speaking to young people in the hangouts they enjoy to find out what facilities and activities they would like to see here. There will also be pop-up events for them to attend and a range of activities they can sign up to. We want to reconnect our youths to the community.”

During the previous month, community policing officers ran a bike security event in Forres, by appointment only due to Covid restrictions, that was well attended and received.

Insp McCullie added: “Officers have been visiting licensed premises as Covid restrictions ease, working with licensees to ensure they are compliant with remaining restrictions. This has been widely welcomed.”

During the month, officers responded to three reports of minor assaults. The perpetrators were traced and reported. Enquiries are ongoing into four other reported assaults in the area.

An attempted robbery was reported at a house in the town and a man was quickly apprehended and has since appeared in court.

There was a report to the procurator fiscal of a person being in possession of a small amount of controlled drugs.

A report was also received of vandalism to a fence around Forres Thistle’s football ground. Enquiries are ongoing into the incident.

A theft by housebreaking was reported at Jade Garden Chinese takeaway at 1 Fleurs Place, during which cash and a charity collection tin was taken. Enquiries are ongoing.

A theft also occurred at a farm premises on the outskirts of the town where electrical equipment was stolen from a vehicle. Again enquiries are ongoing.

Drivers were reported for speeding offences in the Forres area including an instance of driving with no insurance.

Officers from the community policing team and roads policing unit attended a report of child having been knocked over outside Kinloss Primary School. The driver of the car was charged with a number of offences and work continues to support the school and community.

Meanwhile, Moray’s Chief Inspector, Norman Stevenson, has been impressed by how the region’s communities have recovered so quickly from a spike in Covid-19 cases that kept communities here in level three for longer than the majority of the country.

He said: “The speed in which health care teams deployed was influential in this reduction and their ingenuity was evident in securing all available premises and vehicles from which they could service testing and care into the community. I have been equally impressed at how businesses have adapted to continue care of their customers, who have been coming out to support local shops.”

He added: “With more people at shops and away from houses for longer periods, I am drawn to thinking of crime prevention methods and I would encourage anyone who needs help or advice to get in touch with crime prevention officer, constable Richard Russell, for advice.

“His work involves partner agencies attending problem areas with community members to carry out environmental surveys and ensure ownership of fixing issues and looking for longer term solutions.

“His department shares lots of useful information through community safety and offers ready access to this.”

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