Scottish Borders Council

Agenda item

Progress Reports/Updates on Service Matters - Police Scotland


            There had been circulated copies of Police Scotland’s Scrutiny Report for Quarters 1 & 2 - 2020/2021.   Superintendent MacInnes began by explaining that the report was in a new format to ensure it directly correlated to the Local Police Plan.  The report also included a section on Local Police Plan activities.  He advised that Chief Inspector Stuart Reid had been promoted to a new role and that Inspector Jacqi Mcguigan would lead the local police team until a new local Area Commander had been appointed.   Superintendent MacInnes referred to the continuing impact of Covid-19 and that Police Scotland continued to follow the four E’s approach: Engage – understanding the regulations and changes;   Educate - by explaining what we can and can’t do;  Encourage - people to comply, Enforcement –  as a last resort for people who won’t comply.   He acknowledged the successful partnership working with the Council’s Emergency Planning Team and community resilience work in response to Covid-19.   Police Scotland recognised, that over the winter, mental health might come to the fore as people continued to live with restrictions.  With regard to police attendance at community council meetings he advised that Police Scotland’s IT policy meant they were unable to participate in meetings via Zoom but could use MS Teams.  However, local police officers were meeting with elected Members to develop other levels of engagement.  Local Area Command reports had also been adapted to be more area and Ward focused.


Superintendent MacInnes then highlighted the main points from the report.  Regarding missing persons, he explained that Police Scotland were implementing the Herbert protocol for people with dementia, a national protocol which would be rolled out to the Scottish Borders.   They were also developing an Autism protocol, focused on young people.  Both initiatives would be reflected in the Local Police Plan and improve the response to missing people.  In response to a question Superintendent MacInnes explained that the Autism protocol was still being developed and national engagement was taking place with the NHS and autism charities, following which the protocol would be discussed with local NHS Boards.    Superintendent MacInnes then referred to the rise in reports of domestic abuse incidents, explaining that because of Covid-19 more people were being confined to home which could raise tensions in households.  Police Scotland and partners were aware and were responding appropriately.  With regard to hate crime, there had been a small rise with 22% of such crimes against Police officers.  Detection rate for hate crime was up by 7% since the end of September.   Superintendent MacInnes then referred to the rise in reported sexual crime, 52% of which related to historically crimes.   Indecent and sexual assault reports were down, but there had been an increase in reports of Group 2 crimes including communicating indecent images.    Drug supply, production and cultivation had also increased by 12.5%.   There had been some good recoveries of controlled drugs in the Cheviot and Tweeddale areas.  Four warrants had been issued in the Eyemouth area and Class A drugs had been recovered.   The report also showed there and been an increase in crimes of violence and a corresponding increase in detection rates.  Analysis had shown no specific trends for concern.   Referring to anti-social behaviour there had been an increase in incidents, 24% of which were attributed to Covid-19 breaches of regulations.   Regarding disorder in town centres, weekend patrols continued.  Going forward the police response would be dependent on which tier an area was in.  The CAT and Community Policing team were also working on initiatives to tackle the rise in youth disorder, such as letters to parents.  Superintendent MacInnes then advised that there had been an increase of 11 crimes of threats of extortion compared to the same period last year, a number of which related to personal relationships.  In response to a question, he advised that trends had not shown that this crime was associated with vulnerability but was across the community regardless of age, education or gender.  Superintendent MacInnes then advised of break-ins and detection rates both of which had risen.  With regard to road safety there had been a reduction in all three categories of accidents. Unfortunately, there had been a fatal collision on the A68 involving a motorcyclist and van.   Regarding the 18% increase in bail offences, the police were responding by maximising the safety of victims with proactive bail checks to ensure there were no breaches.   With regard to Operation Glow Worm he would feedback the request for additional lights and high viz clothing to Inspector McGuigan.  Mr Jones added that they the Council were assessing funding to be able to expand the project to other young people.    Regarding cold calling signage at Lennel village, this would be referred to the appropriate council officer for action.


Superintendent MacInnes then reported on CAT activity during the period and response to specific tasking, including the issuing of parking tickets, drug searches and speed checks resulting in 255 warnings, 55 speeding offers with 18 reports to the Procurator Fiscal for excessive speeding.


Superintendent MacInnes then referred to new section of the report which detailed Local Policing Plan priorities.  He highlighted that Covid-19 had an impact on the Borders Blue Zone project which would be implemented when appropriate restrictions were lifted.   In the meantime the funding would be utilised for rural crime prevention activity.


The Board noted the because of Covid-19, there had been delays in setting up forensic examination units for each health authority.  It was requested that at the next meeting, the Board receive data over a period of time, of referrals for victims of sexual crime to support agencies.  The data to include statistics on victims that did not wish to be referred.   The Chairman thanked Superintendent MacInnes for his attendance and informative report.



(a)          NOTED the report.

(b)          AGREED statistics on sexual crime referrals to be circulated for the next meeting.


Councillor Scott and Mrs Simpson left the meeting during consideration of the above report.


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