Police chief praises “strong community spirit” in his Christmas message

Area Commander Craig Smith
Area Commander Craig Smith

As the Local Area Commander for East Dunbartonshire I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on 2015.

Having been appointed in March, I was only several weeks into my new post when the body of Karen Buckley was discovered on the outskirts of Milngavie, having been the victim of a horrific crime that took place within the Glasgow area.

I would like to acknowledge the support that was provided to my officers from the local community at this time where I was able to experience at first hand the very strong community spirit that exists within East Dunbartonshire.

I very much welcome the custodial sentence that was later passed to the individual responsible for this despicable crime. Our thoughts are very much with Karen’s family and friends at this time.

I would also like to acknowledge the support we have received over the past year from our partners who we work with on a daily basis. Earlier this year we launched our Co-Production project that sees us working much closer than before with the Community Protection Services from East Dunbartonshire Council focusing on local issues and priorities.

In comparison to the previous year, we already have seen the number of recorded crimes of violence reduce. We have seen detection rates remain high and we have increased the number of drug dealers that have been arrested within our communities and it is my intention for this to continue into 2016.

I would encourage everyone at this time of the year to consider our more vulnerable members of the community to reduce the risk of them becoming the victim of any crime and in particular the elderly who can often become victim of bogus crimes. I would ask that as you visit family, friends and neighbours, you remind them of the dangers of doorstep crime and telephone scams. If they are in any doubt at all, please encourage them to contact us immediately via 101 or in an emergency by dialling 999.

As we move into the New Year, I would ask that parents or carers dropping children off or collecting them from our schools in a motor vehicle to consider their parking arrangements. It is imperative that children attending school do so in a safe environment and must be able to see and be seen as they cross the road. I would advise the small minority of people who still consistently fail to park safely within the immediate vicinity of a school to strongly consider their parking habits as a New Year’s resolution, or face the very real risk of prosecution.

Last week, I was delighted to take ownership of a new fleet of bikes provided to us through the local Community Safety Partnership.

As we move into 2016, I will be deploying Community Policing Officers on these bikes in our communities and would very much encourage you to speak to these officers as they patrol and tell them about any concerns you may have.

On behalf of all the Police Officers and Staff who serve the communities of East Dunbartonshire, I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe New Year.