Policing update from Ayrshire divisional commander

The Queen's Baton relay passes through Ballantrae
The Queen's Baton relay passes through Ballantrae


Summer has arrived and after months of detailed planning locally with our partners, Ayrshire Division is proud to have played its part in welcoming the Queen’s Baton Relay into South and East Ayrshire on Friday 20th and Saturday 21 June 2014.

Hampden Park, ready for the Commonwealth Games where many Ayrshire police will be serving this month.

Hampden Park, ready for the Commonwealth Games where many Ayrshire police will be serving this month.

A handover at Ballantrae commenced the South Ayrshire leg of the route, with the baton travelling through Girvan, Maybole, Alloway, Tarbolton, Symington, Dundonald, Troon and Prestwick, culminating in an evening event at the Low Green in Ayr.

In the afternoon, the baton also attended a fantastic youth event, involving hundreds of local schoolchildren, in Bellisle Park.

People from Ayrshire turned out in their thousands to support the baton on its journey and a fantastic and safe day was had by all.

On the 21st June the QBR was handed over to East Ayrshire at Dalmellington, with a crowd of over 800 people turning out to send it on its way.

The route took in a number of towns and villages throughout East Ayrshire, including a visit to the outdoor swimming pool at New Cumnock, Loudon Academy, the Stewarton Bonnet Guild and Gala, Crosshouse Gala and the children’s ward at Crosshouse Hospital, before finishing up at a lively community event in Kilmarnock town centre.

Once again communities across East Ayrshire embraced the QBR and turned out in large numbers to support it.

Both days events were broadcast via ‘livestream’ by the BBC and regular updates were posted on the Police Scotland Ayrshire Facebook page and South and East Ayrshire Twitter feeds.


Police Scotland have published our Year One management information, providing information on crime and detection rates in every local authority area across Scotland. I am delighted to report that in each of the three local authority areas in Ayrshire the Year One performance picture was a very positive one. Overall crime decreased by 6.3%, with similar reductions achieved in North, South and East Ayrshire. This equates to 9,327 fewer crimes and victims of crime across Ayrshire in 2013/14 than in the previous year, with violent crime down 3.8%. Detection rates were also amongst some of the highest in the country, maintaining Ayrshire’s reputation as one of the safest places in Scotland.

Divisional performance continues to be strong in Year Two, with all officers and staff focussed on keeping people safe. Incidents of violent crime continue to decrease, with fewer serious and petty assaults recorded this year than last and over 1,000 less reports of drunkenness/street drinking, disorder and anti social behaviour.

Housebreaking detections have also increased by 15%, and I am pleased to report that the spate of housebreakings in New Farm Loch, Kilmarnock, which I referred to in my last newsletter, ceased following the arrest of two suspects. Motor vehicle crime has also reduced by 4% with 9 fewer victims.


Ayrshire Division’s ‘Safe Summer’ Initiative, which will run throughout the summer months, is already paying dividends with very positive feedback from members of the public regarding the high visibility patrols and street briefings being held in and around our town centres. Complementing our successful Shore Watch and Campaign Against Violence, Safe Summer uses additional high visibility patrols focussed on our public spaces, to ensure they are safe places for people to use, visit and enjoy, free from anti-social behaviour, drinking in public, drug misuse and weapon carrying.

The Initiative also involves officers using the Ferro-guard metal detectors in and around our night time economy venues and locations, to deter and detect anyone carrying knives or other weapons, ensuring these are safe places and keeping the community safe 24/7.

Look out for information on our regular street briefings on the Police Scotland North, South and East Ayrshire Twitter feeds and Ayrshire Division Facebook page and why not come along and see one in action?


The Prevention First initiative running in North Ayrshire, reported on in previous newsletters, continues to gain momentum and deliver results. Prevention First aims to reduce offending, reduce victimisation and reduce locations where offending takes place by tackling the factors which drive crime in our communities. The initiative is supported by a wide range of partners who quickly realised the value of this innovative approach, which is resulting in real and tangible differences being made in peoples’ lives.

In addition to the detection and prevention of a number of offences, the team have dealt with vulnerability in the community, prevention work regarding bogus caller crime and a whole range of issues addressed before they escalated to criminality or victimisation. This preventative approach is realising significant financial and resourcing efficiencies and has identified opportunities for future ways of working. The Initiative is currently being evaluated and I will provide a more comprehensive update in a future newsletter.


Officers from Ayrshire Division are playing their part in this unique and historic event, joining colleagues in Glasgow to deliver the safety and security requirements which will keep people safe at the Games. Glasgow 2014 will be a fantastic sporting event for Glasgow and Scotland. Planning for this event has been ongoing since it was announced that Scotland would host the games and comprehensive policing plans are in place to ensure that this sporting spectacle and celebration are policed professionally, effectively and appropriately. Police Scotland has a wealth of experience to draw on from the amalgamation of 8 Forces, all of which had extensive experience of policing large events.

All leave for police officers and staff has been suspended for the duration of the Games to allow us to ensure people are kept safe in and around the sporting venues as well as her in Ayrshire over the duration of the Games.

We look forward to the Games and are proud to be playing our part.


In my last newsletter I advised of the proposed co-location of Police Scotland with NHS and Scottish Ambulance Service partners on the site of the Girvan Community Hospital. The move presents us with unique opportunities to work in partnership with key agencies, it will future-proof policing in Girvan and it presents significant efficiencies in terms of financial savings.

I have recently written to all local councillors and other stakeholders regarding the proposal and am grateful to those who responded. All feedback is appreciated and will be taken into account in the further considerations regarding the matter which remain ongoing. I will respond individually to everyone to provided feedback in the near future and will keep you updated with progress in future newsletters.


On 5 June 2014 EAVAWP held a showcase event in Auchinleck, supported by Ayrshire Division and partners from East Ayrshire Council, NHS Ayrshire and Arran and the voluntary sector. This event was hugely popular in raising awareness of domestic abuse in all its forms and how we all have a part to play in eradicating it by making positive changes in culture, systems and practice. South West Scotland Community Justice Authority’s Multi Agency Domestic Abuse Group has developed a Domestic Abuse Contact Card with details of support agencies for those affected by domestic abuse.  The credit card sized, fold-out booklet is based on the design of a contact card previously produced by NHS Ayrshire and Arran. The new card includes updated and extended contact details, including links to social media, for a wide range of support services and organisations for people affected by domestic abuse.  Guidance has also been developed about the safe use of the card, which was launched by members of the CJA group including Ayrshire Division at the conference. Ayrshire Division has committed to issuing a card to all those referred to the Domestic Abuse Investigation Unit.


The importance of Values Based policing in Scotland was considered and discussed at a national conference held at the Scottish Police College on Wednesday 28th May. This Conference was the first opportunity for Police Scotland to publicly set out its Code of Ethics and the importance we, as a service, place on Values Based Policing.

Speakers included the Chief Constable, Sir Stephen House, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Mr Kenny MacAskill, the Independent Human Rights Advisor to the Policing Board for Northern Ireland, Ms Alyson Kilpatrick; and the Police Investigation and Review Commissioner, Professor John MacNeill. I was privileged to be invited to speak at the Conference, on the subject of best practice in values based policing, providing an operational example demonstrating delivery of the Police Scotland values in practice. The example provided related to how Ayrshire Division worked with partners to deliver a multi agency response to reported abuse of elderly and vulnerable people.

Chief Constable, Sir Stephen House, said: “At the conference we set out the importance of delivering a police service based on our values of integrity, fairness and respect. These encapsulate what the public demands from policing, what I expect across Police Scotland and what members of the Service seek from one another.”

 “This conference allowed us to demonstrate how we use our values everyday, that they are not simply a tagline which was developed in isolation.  Both our values and code of ethics were defined though discussion and input from officers and staff from across the Service.  They reflect the common standards that we all aim to uphold every day and by delivering a police service with these values uppermost in our thoughts, I believe we are better placed to make difficult decisions and react appropriately to critical situations and provide a professional service to our communities.”

I hope the update provided is useful and welcome any feedback you may care to give. Thank you for your continued support.