Police Scotland One Year on- How Ayrshire is Faring

Chief SuperIntendent Gillian McDonald, Divisional Commander of Ayrshire Division.
Chief SuperIntendent Gillian McDonald, Divisional Commander of Ayrshire Division.
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We are now 12 months on since Police Scotland took over responsibility for policing in Scotland. We have made significant progress over the last year as we continue to adapt and develop our local services in conjunction with partners, focussed on keeping people safe.

The creation of Police Scotland has enabled us to identify and build on practice established right across the country in order to deliver the best possible service for our communities here in Ayrshire.

This update reflects on the past year and what lies ahead in the coming months for Ayrshire Division and the communities we serve. I hope you find it useful.


The year since April 1st 2013 has been a hugely successful first year for Police Scotland, with crime at a 39 year low and levels of public confidence in policing high. I’m delighted to be able to advise you of Ayrshire Division’s contribution to that overall success.

Violent crime is down in Ayrshire across all categories. That means there were fewer victims of serious assault, fewer victims of petty assault and fewer victims of robbery in communities across Ayrshire in the first year of Police Scotland’s operation, when compared against the same period the previous year. Break-ins to houses and cars are also down and my officers are committed to carrying on this good work in the months ahead to keep it that way. Levels of public satisfaction and confidence in policing in Ayrshire are also very high.


This week the service’s Annual Police Plan and Corporate Strategy are published, setting out our operational and organisational priorities for the years ahead. We have also set out our commitment to the people of Ayrshire in Local Policing Plans prepared for each of our three local authority areas, underpinned by policing plans for each Multi Member Ward in Ayrshire.  These plans have been informed by our engagement with local communities and partners, as well as in depth analysis. They reflect those issues which are of most concern to our communities. This year, close to 31,000 people were surveyed across Scotland to find out what the issues are where they live. Almost 2,000 of these surveys took place in Ayrshire. This is almost double the number from the previous year and we want to continue to build on that.

The Local Policing Plans and Multi Member Ward plans provide assurance that community concerns are being listened to and addressed, they detail our actions to date in response to issues raised and describe what we intend to do in the coming months. Full details of how to contact your local community policing teams are also contained therein. All of our plans are available on the Police Scotland website. Multi Member Ward plans can be accessed by following the link to ‘Your Community’.


The Prevention First initiative in North Ayrshire, which I advised of in my last update, is producing some early successes and has been fully embraced by local officers and partners.

We are working closely with some key agencies to identify vulnerable individuals who require additional and early support, and those whose offending behaviour needs robust attention and intervention. By taking this approach we aim to reduce victimisation, reduce offending and reduce the number of locations where offending takes place. I am grateful for the enthusiastic commitment to this initiative from North Ayrshire Council Housing and Anti Social Behaviour Intervention Team, Social Work, Youth Workers, Addiction Services, Alcohol and Drug Partnership, Momentum Skills, Ayrshire Community Trust, SACRO and Dementia Support Service.

Positive and sustainable results have already been achieved and we look forward to building on these valuable partnerships with a view to Keeping People Safe in North Ayrshire. I will continue to provide you with more information on our Prevention First results in future newsletters.


Revised police public counter opening hours were introduced at a number of police offices across the Division in early March.

Local officers worked closely with members of the national project team on the lead in to ensure that any member of the public attending at a police office which had previously had 24 hour public counter coverage and which continues to operate a 24/7 custody provision, can contact officers within.

I am pleased to report that these new arrangements are working well. Members of the public who require to speak to police otherwise are able to do so via our 101 number, as well as at community centres, shared service hubs and information points, and also through social media.


Social media is an increasingly important tool in sharing information and news with the public we serve. On our national Facebook page and local Twitter feeds we discuss what we are up to, what we have done, and offer advice that is relevant to keeping people safe in Scotland.

Ayrshire Division continues to use and expand our use of social media. In addition to our local Twitter feeds we will soon be launching our Ayrshire Division Facebook page.

I am very much aware that social media is a two-way dialogue and look forward to hearing views and suggestions from across Ayrshire. Access to all police social media, both local and national, is through the Police Scotland website: http://www.scotland.police.uk/ and I encourage you to become involved.


The 14th June 2014 will be a significant milestone for Police Scotland staff across the country with the arrival of the QBR in Scotland.

The baton arrives in South Ayrshire on 20th June and is in East Ayrshire the next day. It then leaves the county returning to North Ayrshire on 15th July. While the baton is in Ayrshire,

Police Scotland will be responsible for the safety and security of both the baton and the approximately 300 local baton bearers, as part of the convoy which will visit our villages and towns over the three days.  Escorting the baton on its route will require officers to run approximately half a marathon every day whilst ensuring the safety and security of the baton. Specialist training to prepare officers for this unique and challenging event is underway with local officers fulfilling a number of roles including runners, bikers and drivers.

The baton route commenced with Her Majesty the Queen placing her message to the Commonwealth in the baton at Buckingham Palace on 9th October 2013. The QBR will culminate in the baton being delivered to the Queen or her representative at the opening ceremony in Glasgow on 23rd July 2014. Ayrshire Division is looking forward to supporting this event and the subsequent Games.

Full details of the route can be found at http://www.glasgow2014.com/queens-baton-relay.

Planning for the baton’s journey through Ayrshire and for policing the Commonwealth Games is at an advanced stage and will ensure that both are safe and enjoyable, and that policing services in Ayrshire continue to be delivered to the same high level throughout the duration of both. I will provide more information about this in subsequent updates.


A plan to keep people safe on South Ayrshire’s beaches this spring and summer has been developed with the SafeAyr group, part of South Ayrshire Council Community Safety Partnership.

The group which has been running for the past two years meets regularly to look at safety in the town of Ayr, especially during the late evenings. A dedicated Shorewatch sub-group also meets to plan for the summer season at Ayr beach and the surrounding area and to review and evaluate the plan to identify any learning at the end of each season. The group consists of representatives from Police Scotland, SAC Community Safety and SAC Environmental Health. Links are also established with other agencies including HM Coastguard and British Transport Police. This year’s Shorewatch Plan is ready to go - all we need is the weather!

I hope this update is helpful and welcome any comments or suggestions you may have. Thank you for continued support as we continue to develop our services to keep people safe in Ayrshire.