Help­ing vul­ner­a­ble adults a ‘huge chal­lenge’, says MacDon­ald

The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands) - - NEWS - BY CALUM ROSS

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.”

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