A force for change

The sign on Falkirk Police Office has changed
The sign on Falkirk Police Office has changed

Protecting the most vulnerable in our communities will be a priority for Police Scotland’s new Forth Valley commander.

Those with mental health issues or chaotic lifestyles, domestic abuse victims and at risk children are all a prime concern for Chief Superintendent David Flynn.

As the new single police service for the whole of Scotland comes into being on Monday, the man charged with looking after the local area and its residents said he was confident it would be business as usual as far as the public was concerned.

He said: “People will see no difference on April 1.”

His comments came as figures showed that there is a significant drop in crime across the district.

The chief superintendent said: “Last year we had an average of 45 crimes reported daily, this year it is 40.”

Central Scotland Joint Police Board’s final meeting heard anti-social behaviour, disorder and vandalism were down 25 per cent in the last three years.

The performance report noted there had also been a “welcome reduction” in violent incidents with more than 500 fewer minor assaults (2864). Serious crimes of violence also fell by 22 to 310. The detection rate for crimes rose by one per cent to 96 per cent.

Crimes of dishonesty also saw a marked decrease with housebreakings down 25 per cent and motor vehicle crimes down 18 per cent against the three year average.

Mr Flynn added: “Last year we detected 199 drug dealers and this year to date 192. Communities are still telling us about drug dealing in their neighbourhoods and we will continue to react to that information.

“People involved with drugs often live chaotic lifestyles and they bring that into the communities. It can lead to crimes of dishonesty to fund their habit which we are determined to clamp down on.”

He said the increase in child neglect cases – up two to 71 – was mainly due to “robust” recording of incidents, adding: “Bringing charges can lead to early intervention and allow our partners to deal with it.

“When we see houses that are in a state, no food in the fridge and chaotic lifestyles, we see children at risk. But enhanced ways of reporting can help us deal with it quickly.”

Commenting on the figures, Councillor Jim Blackwood, board convener, said: “This is another excellent report with a downward trend in crime and an increase in detection rates. It highlights the strength of Central Scotland Police and its officers and staff should be congratulated.

“The new Forth Valley division now has a solid base to move into a new era.”