Commitment to rural policing to the fore for new Inspector
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I AM delighted to have been appointed as the new Inspector responsible for policing in Buckie and Keith, and I am very much looking forward to engaging with all of the communities in the area.
I have already attended the community council meeting for Portknockie and will be introducing myself to those representing the residents of our other local towns and villages in the coming weeks and months.
It will be a real opportunity to hear about concerns, to understand local priorities and to report on policing activities and developments.
I am no stranger to the issues of rural policing. I joined Northern Constabulary in 2003 following careers in engineering and education, and my first posting took me to Shetland where I worked as a Police Constable for almost five years.
The challenges posed by geography, by the weather and by the sheer remoteness of those communities were balanced by the warmth and generosity of the island folk. I found the relationship fostered by our officers with the people we served to be positive and inspiring.
From Unst (the northernmost Island) to Sumburgh on the south Shetland mainland, I learned that the concerns about the safety and security of our communities are common to all.
From Lerwick, I moved as a Sergeant to Wick where I joined CID as one of a team of detectives dealing with more serious crime in Caithness and Sutherland, and my work took me from Durness in the far north-west to Helmsdale on the East coast.
It can be very difficult for those in urban areas to understand the unique dynamics of rural life, including the sheer distance between policing hubs and the people who require our assistance. Crucially, our mandate to serve the public is not affected by location but it does require a particular understanding of the impact of the particular nature of each area, whether that be coastal fishing or farming communities.
My next posting took me to Inverness where I worked in counter-terrorism, before transferring to Aberdeen with my family when the former Scottish forces were amalgamated to form Police Scotland.
Latterly, I have been part of the Cybercrime Unit and as a temporary Detective Inspector have overseen policy and co-ordination in this burgeoning area of police activity. In this role, I was responsible for managing our response to the significant policing challenges posed by technology.
Moving into my new position, I hope to ensure that our response to Internet security and on-line safety remains robust. Those in more rural communities rely on on-line connectivity for work, for leisure and for access to services, and I will be focusing on educating and assisting our residents to carry out those activities in a safe and positive manner.
I am very much looking forward to exploring the beautiful countryside of the Buckie and Keith areas and meeting as many local people as possible.
I would encourage you to engage with my officers whenever you encounter them, to report any concerns and problems and, crucially, to remember that we are here to help to preserve both the wonderful vibrancy and tranquillity of the area.