Ini­tia­tive aims to com­bat ru­ral crime

The Oban Times - - News -

A NEW crime preven­tion scheme which has been de­vel­oped for the Scot­tish coun­try­side had its re­gional launch in Dal­mally this week.

Ru­ral Watch, which en­cour­ages peo­ple to re­port sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­ity on­line, is be­ing in­tro­duced in the Glenorchy and In­nishail area, and is due to be rolled out to other parts of Ar­gyll in the next few months.

The scheme, a joint ini­tia­tive for Po­lice Scot­land and Neigh­bour­hood Watch, was in­tro­duced at an open meet­ing at Dal­mally Com­mu­nity Cen­tre last Wed­nes­day Fe­bru­ary 15.

It gives res­i­dents a line of com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the po­lice for non-ur­gent mat­ters, and al­lows po­lice to alert mem­bers about crime in their area so that they can take pre­cau­tions to pre­vent it.

Through the tar­geted po­si­tion­ing of weather-proof posters and win­dow stick­ers, it also aims to send a mes­sage to po­ten­tial crim­i­nals that, de­spite be­ing ru­ral, the area is pa­trolled and watched.

The meet­ing was hosted by Neigh­bour­hood Watch’s com­mu­nity en­gage­ment of­fi­cer Wil­lie Clark, and PC Darren Miller, who is based in Dal­mally and over­sees the scheme in the Glenorchy area.

‘Ru­ral Watch presents an op­por­tu­nity for the po­lice to in­ter­act with lo­cal com­mu­nity mem­bers in a proac­tive and in­clu­sive way, and to en­sure the safe­guard­ing of our neigh­bours and our prop­erty,’ said PC Miller.

‘Com­mu­nity spirit is strong in the lo­cal area, and I hope that the scheme will re­in­force ties and pro­mote a vig­i­lance that will serve as a de­ter­rent to would-be crim­i­nals.’

Glenorchy and In­nishail is a large ge­o­graph­i­cal area which in­cludes farms and es­tates, land­marks such as Kilchurn cas­tle, Ben Do­ran and Loch Awe, and vil­lages and ham­lets in­clud­ing Dal­mally, Lochawe, Bridge of Orchy and Port­sonachan.

John Kerr, sec­re­tary of Glenorchy and In­nishail Com­mu­nity Coun­cil, said: ‘Our whole com­mu­nity wel­comes this op­por­tu­nity to be­come in­volved with a Ru­ral Watch scheme. We all ap­pre­ci­ate and sup­port the ex­cel­lent pro­vi­sion of blue-light emer­gency ser­vices in our lo­cal area.

‘Ru­ral Watch al­lows lo­cal res­i­dents to in­ter­act with Po­lice Scot­land to in­crease se­cu­rity. Those who may be tempted to flout the law will be­come aware that they can­not be­have in an an­ti­so­cial or crim­i­nal man­ner here with­out suf­fer­ing the con­se­quences of their ac­tions.’

Po­lice of­fi­cers in Ap­pin and Ard­chat­tan aim to in­tro­duce the scheme in their ar­eas shortly, and it will start in Taynuilt, Dalavich and Kilchre­nan later this year.

To reg­is­ter or to find out more, go to ru­ral­watch­scot­land.co.uk.

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