Pressure grows on Scottish Borders Police as society returns to some kind of normality
The most challenging times may still lie ahead for Scottish Borders Police as society returns to something akin to normal, its most senior officer has warned.
As the vaccination programme advances and Covid restrictions ease, the changes in behaviours, criminality and policing demands have begun to materialise.
On a positive note, there has been a dramatic fall in anti-social behaviour calls; the unprecedented demand experienced during the previous 12 months attributable in most part to breaches of Covid regulations.
Domestic offending remains a concern and this has impacted too on common assault figures.
Housebreakings have also risen in number, a symptom of more people spending additional time away from their homes.
Chief inspector Vincent Fisher, the region’s local area commander, is content, however, that nothing we’re experiencing in the Scottish Borders is out of kilter with other areas of the country and that in a number of respects, “our detection rates and wider performance measures compared very favourably”.
He made his observations in a report to a meeting of the council’s police, fire and rescue and safer communities board.
The chief inspector adds: “While we have faced, and continue to face, some of the most significant challenges in living memory, the most challenging may still lie ahead. “While absence through either illness or self-isolation has impacted on our resources, we have benefited from a vast reduction in court business, planned events and the night-time economy had ceased, and all but essential training has been suspended.
“In September we will see a doubling in court hearings, with simultaneous sittings at both Jedburgh and Selkirk. A number of events are due to recommence in the coming weeks and months; Kelso ram sales, Tour of the Borders, Tour of Britain etc. Some are more resource intensive than others, but it is a demand we have not faced at all during the pandemic.
“The re-emergence of the night-time economy will cause our demand profiles to change, and we have recently altered the SB-CAT shift patterns to better service peak demands for anti-social behaviour and violence.”
Borders officers will also be drafted into the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow this November, with plans advanced to maintain service provision in our region at that time.