The region’s top police officer has warned that Borderers should not be complacent about the threat of terrorism.
“The internet means that radicalism can occur anywhere – it is no respecter of demographics or population,” said Chief Superintendent Gill Imery at last week’s meeting of the Police, Fire & Rescue and Safer Communities Board.
She said that as commander for Borders, Midlothian, East and West Lothian, she had regular counter-terrorism meetings with other senior officers at a national level.
“We are regularly briefed and expected to interpret policies in our areas of command,” said CS Imery.
“The message is that officers in the Borders realise this area is equally vulnerable to terrorist activities as anywhere else and we want the public to realise this also and be vigilant. We should certainly not be complacent.”
Presenting her report on local crime, she reminded the board that the new lower drink-driving limit in Scotland would be introduced on December 5.
“More than ever, the rule of thumb is that if you are going to drive, don’t drink at all,” she stated.
The board heard that the number of hate crimes recorded in the Borders fell by more than 20 per cent in the six months from April 1 to September 30 this year, with 33 offences reported, compared to 42 in the corresponding period last year. The predominant motivation was race hatred which was responsible for 22 of the new crimes.
Over the six months, the total number of reported crimes in the region fell by 118 – from 1,695 to 1,577 – although the detection rate slipped from 55.1 per cent to 51.9 per cent.
Other keynote statistics included a reduction in common assaults from 500 to 383; no change in the number (27) of people detected for supplying drugs; a cut in housebreakings to domestic properties from 126 to 107; and fewer thefts from motor vehicles – down 48 to 34.
In a separate report for the same period by the multi-agency Safer Communities team, based at Newtown, Chief Inspector John Scott detailed joint efforts to cut the level and impact of antisocial behaviour – a major public concern in the most recent Scottish Borders Council household survey.
He said although there had been a marginal increase in overall ASB incidents – from 2,802 to 2,835, the number involving youths had fallen from 904 to787.
“This is a very positive reduction which, if it continues until the end of 2014/15, will produce the lowest number of youth incidents over the past five years,” said CI Scott.