Local touch is tops for new community officer Rachel
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BRINGING the community touch back where it belongs into local policing is the aim of the game for Buckie's new Community Officer PC Rachel Barclay.
Part of a new initiative by Police Scotland, PC Barclay, who also covers the Keith area, is one of a four-strong team of COs covering Moray.
With a total of 11 years' experience on the force, three of which have been spent serving the people of Buckie and Keith, PC Barclay's new role is the perfect vehicle for her passion for grassroots community policing.
"It's all about getting back to the community, finding out what the issues and problems are and trying to solve them rather than just react to them," she said.
"At the moment, we're responding to incidents as they occur but aren't getting close to communities and getting to know them. By doing that we can hopefully identify issues and prevent them from becoming problems.
"I was delighted to be asked to take on the Community Officer role for Buckie and Keith. I'm looking forward to getting out and meeting people; it's all about developing trust and a rapport. That's something we don't often get to do in a response role, you don't get the opportunity to see what's behind a lot of the incidents we deal with.
"It's putting policing back at a community level."
PC Barclay already has a number of initial priorities as she eases into the CO post, which she will undertake alongside response duties.
"My first priority is to get out and about and meet as many of the local business people as I can," she continued.
"The Covid restrictions have meant that many community groups aren't meeting but once those ease I'll be looking to go along and meet them, too. .
"Also depending on the Covid rules, in a joint venture with the council I'm hoping to help bring Street Soccer to Buckie for kids. This would most likely be held at the astroturf pitch in Buckie and is an excellent chance to talk to kids away from a school environment.
"Again, it's all about building trust and rapport.
"Hopefully myself and the other COs will be doing a lot of these partnership working ventures with agencies such as the council."
Turning to the most common issues which have already been flagged up by the communities of Buckie and Keith, PC Barclay noted that there were a lot of broad similarities between the two areas.
She said: "In Buckie, three main priorities have been identified.
"One is related to the issue of speeding and boy racers, which young people and anti-social behaviour is another. The matter of drugs has also been raised.
"It's a pretty similar picture in Keith, although boy racers seem to be more of a problem than speeding."
Welcoming PC Barclay on board was Sergeant Scott Brander, who is co-ordinating the CO team in Moray.
He said: "We value the importance of working in and with our communities to identify and solve problems.
"PC Barclay is a great addition to our Community Policing Team, bringing a wealth of experience, local knowledge and enthusiasm into her new role.
"We hope to build upon our already established partnerships with local businesses, community groups and third sector agencies to find innovative ways of improving our communities and keeping people safe."
BLOB Starting soon, PC Barclay and her colleagues will be contributing a regular monthly column in the Advertiser and its sister titles in Moray.
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