Helping vulnerable adults a ‘huge challenge’, says MacDonald
Police in the Highlands are having to help a vulnerable adult get help every two-and-a-half hours on average.
Chief Superintendent George MacDonald explained the issue was becoming a “massive chal- lenge” for the force across the country.
He said: “The role of a police officer has changed significantly in the last 10 years and we’re dealing with numerous incidents on a daily basis of vulnerability, both with adults and with children.
“Some of that is because we’ve got a better understanding about the risks of adult and child protection, which is a very positive thing.
“But we’re dealing with literally thousands of cases every single year.
“On an average day in the Highlands, we’re dealing with nine incidents in relation to adult vulnerability.
“If you want to break that down, every two-and-a-half hours, a police officer in the Highlands is dealing with at times fairly complex issues around adult vulnerability, which could mean taking someone to a local community hospital for some kind of assessment into their mental wellbeing, which is timeconsuming.
“But one of the basics of policing is to protect life. We’re a 24/7 operation and we come across people at times of crisis.”
Ch Supt MacDonald also spoke about his belief that alcohol was a “far bigger” issue for police than drugs.
He added: “Drugs is an issue, of course drugs is an issue. And for those families that are involved, their children are involved, their relatives are involved in drug abuse, absolutely, it’s very, very difficult.
“But in terms of the level of harm that we see on a daily and weekly basis, in terms of violence, child protection issues, road safety, vulnerability in terms of mental health and alcohol, alcohol is a massive contributory factor in a lot of our business.”