The first of a regular update from the new Turriff Police Sergeant, Richard Barnwell.
Welcome to our ‘On The Beat’ section covering the Turriff area. We are thankfully living in very safe area with very low crime levels and those that do occur are detected very quickly. Each month, I will highlight just some of the crimes that have occurred and where we may need your help and also highlight some other topics of interest.
This is my first column since taking up the post of the Turriff Community Policing Team Sergeant. This, however, this is not my first posting to Turriff, so I know the local area and some of its people and problems quite well. I am keen to continue to provide a good level of service to our communities and in doing so I will be looking to engage with as many groups and individuals in the community as possible.
It is my view that to serve our communities well, the issues and problems that you see as a priority should also be our priority. Obviously, any criminal problems or issues should be reported to us directly, either by attending at the office, email or phoning 101 or 999 in emergency situations. Anything else that you are not so sure about may be better brought to our attention through one of our many community council meetings and in addition to this, you could perhaps attend at one of our new Community Surgery events.
Three ‘Community Surgery’ style events have been planned in the Formartine area to allow residents greater access to the police officers and other partnership agencies serving the area.
The surgeries will offer an opportunity for residents to raise any issues or concerns they have but are not intended to be for reporting crime.
It is intended that the three-hour long drop in events will be held on a quarterly basis at easy to access venues in the community.
Formartine Inspector Andy Scott said
The events have been planned in partnership with local councillors and community councils.
While I acknowledge there are already accessible means in which the public can contact us, many people often do not want to attend Police Stations or Council Offices and are not comfortable using social media platforms, which carry a wealth of information. It is often these individuals who form the majority of our most vulnerable citizens and we are hoping that these events will encourage them to come along and address the most relevant agency with their concerns.
It is a simple concept and for the first series of surgeries, I intend on leading the Police presence myself. I will be joined at each event by at least one of the locally elected representatives, a member of the Aberdeenshire Council Roads Team and a member of the Aberdeen Drug and Alcohol partnership. It won’t be a crime reporting event, more to discuss any concerns around antisocial behaviour and wider crime concerns.
An event for those in the Ellon and District ward was held on Friday, March 1 at the Ellon Academy Community Campus from 3-6pm.
The next surgery event will be held for the Mid Formartine ward on Wednesday, March 13 at Oldmeldrum Academy from 3-6pm.
And the final surgery event will be held for those in the Turriff and District ward on Friday, March 15 at Turriff Primary School from 3-6pm.
A summary report of incidents during February
During February, a total of fifteen crimes have been reported and recorded by Police in our area. Thirteen of these are already detected, with the remaining two still being investigated with positive lines of enquiry.
Of those fifteen; six relate to road traffic offences, four relate to domestic type offences, two relate to alcohol related offences, two relate to crimes of dishonesty and one relates to rural crime.
I would encourage members of the public to continue to contact Police to report all manner of crimes.
Also during February local officers took part in a National Operation to tackle, Speeding, Mobile Phone use and Seatbelt offences on our road networks. During this operation officers carried out checks in Turriff, Fyvie, Rothienorman as well as other areas within Formartine. As a result of this operation 9 tickets were issued for speeding offences, with one offender being reported directly to the Procurator Fiscal, 29 warnings and several parking tickets issued. Numerous drivers were also educated in relation to their vehicles and driving behaviour.
It has been brought to my attention that parking is an issue within the Turriff town centre, especially during the day at weekends around local businesses. It would appear that parking spaces along the main streets in Turriff are being utilised by local residents for large portions of the day, which is preventing others from accessing local businesses, thus having an adverse effect on those businesses.
I would like to encourage local residents to support local businesses and abide by the parking restrictions that have been put in place. I will be directing officers to carry out patrols in this area and parking tickets will be issued to anyone found breaching the parking restrictions.
Further general parking issues have been reported throughout Turriff. To avoid causing problems for others, please ensure you are courteous when parking and not obstructing resident’s driveways or junctions. Again, any detected offences will be dealt with accordingly.
Anti-social / nuisance driving continues to be a common issue within Turriff and dedicated patrols will continue to target this problem.
Thankfully this month due to the high detection rate of the reported crime, I have no witness appeals to submit.
I will instead, appeal to you all for your assistance in tackling crime as a whole. As you can appreciate the Turriff and District Ward is quite large, with vast areas of countryside making up the majority of it. With such a large area my officers and I can only be in one place at one time, so I am appealing for you to be our eyes and ears.
Where it may not be as prevalent as it is in other communities in the North East; the use, sale and supply of controlled drugs within our towns does occur and I would be very interested in any information you can provide that would assist us in disrupting and prosecuting this kind of activity. Any strange smells or suspicious goings on at all times of day or night? Let us know.
You may be aware of the recent break-in’s to commercial premises in Keith and Torphins where plant machinery has been used to cause extensive damage in order for the perpetrators to gain access and steal items from within. I would urge any owner or operators of plant machinery, where it is left unattended overnight to ensure that the keys are removed from the machine and secured elsewhere in order to make it as difficult as possible for these opportunistic thieves to operate.
With the unusually warm February this year we have begun to see motorcyclist using the roads, earlier than we would usually expect. I would encourage local drivers to take note of this and be extra vigilant. As we still have the low winter sun and motorcyclist only cast a small silhouette they can sometimes be very difficult to see.
Changes to local staffing have allowed for the implementation of a Community Beat Officer. This role will be undertaken by our long standing member of staff PC Doug Donald. Doug will be covering the whole of Formartine but you will hopefully start seeing more of him and I would encourage you to go and say hello if you see him out and about.
We will be looking to carry out directed local operations, specifically to target local issues raised by our communities. Details of which will be published in future columns and on social media.
If you would like to report anything to the Police please use either our non-emergency number 101 or via www.scotland.police.uk or if you wish to remain anonymous, then use Crimestopers on 0800 555111.
Please follow us on Twitter @ShireNPolice for local policing updates.
Sergeant Richard Barnwell