Cracking down on domestic abuse

The number of domestic abuse incidents in the Borders has reached a 10-year high, according to the latest statistics – a total of 930 were reported last year.

While it is concerning to learn of so many victims of domestic abuse, it is also encouraging that more victims are feeling brave enough to report it.

Some of this is thanks to work being carried out in the Borders by groups such as the Pathways Project, who have encouraged far more women and men to come forward.

Each person who reports a case of domestic abuse deserves our full support, and it is important that they do not feel like they are on their own. Not only do they need to be given an option to escape their situation, we also need to come down hard on those committing these offences.

POLICE DESK CLOSURES

The justice system in this region is once again under threat after proposals were published to close more than a third of police stations in the Borders to the public.

The review from Police Scotland suggests closing the counters at Selkirk, Coldstream, Lauder and Melrose – severely hampering local residents’ access to their police force.

Although the report claims they are not used often by the public, it fails to appreciate just how important it is to many local residents to have them there.

While I appreciate that Police Scotland are attempting to save money, this is not the way to go about it. This is a retrograde step that will do nothing to improve the public’s confidence in the safety on our streets.

BATON BEARERS

With less than a year until the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the Queen’s Baton Relay recently got under way.

It will be visiting more than 70 nations during the coming months before returning to Scotland, and it is due to be in the Borders on June 18. Organisers are looking for baton bearers to carry it through our region and have asked for nominations for individuals who have contributed to sport or their local communities.

ALASTAIR WATSON

It was with great sadness that I heard of the passing of Alastair Watson.

His work as a photographer for The Southern has seen him cover many of the biggest events that have happened in the Borders, and his death is undoubtedly a great loss to our region. I always found him to be a personable, enthusiastic and professional individual, and the work he has done for this paper will no doubt live on for many decades to come.

He will be greatly missed and my thoughts are with his wife, Meg, and children, Gareth and Michelle.