Policing priorities need teeth, says council

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Rural areas like the Borders must be adequately and effectively policed and must not lose out to more urban parts of Scotland.

That was the message sent to Holyrood this week by the executive committee of Scottish Borders Council.

Councillors were responding to the Scottish Government’s consultation on draft strategic priorities which will set the direction for Police Scotland over the next three to five years.

These revised priorities are based on the six broad themes of localism, prevention, response, collaborative working, accountability and adaptability.

However, when asked if these aims summed up their ambitions for the police service or reflected the needs of local communities in this region, councillors emphatically answered in the negative.

“The detail of the implementation of these priorities is important ... and they need to be accompanied with an equitable distribution of resources to allow effective and responsive frontline policing to address the different priorities within each police division and ensure rural areas do not lose out to urban areas,” stated the council’s response.

“The priorities should also take account of the priorities of the police on the English side of the national border to ensure close cross-border working.

“There is a need to empower local police to operate much more flexibly to deal with local priorities focusing on early intervention and prevention.”