TALKING POLITICS Praise for brave and hardworking police officers
The Scottish Parliament returned from the Christmas and new year recess on Monday.
The festive period is the one time of the year that the Parliamentary business does close down and the ever-increasing emails cease.
This is a time when most of us will have had the opportunity to relax and spend quality time with friends and family.
However, those who work in the emergency services and in armed forces serving abroad will not have been so fortunate.
Too often we take for granted the outstanding work these men and women do, on a daily basis, to keep us safe.
That’s why award ceremonies like the Scottish Police Federation’s (SPF) bravery awards are so important.
This ceremony was introduced for the first time four years ago and it has been a privilege to not just be invited, as the convener of the Parliament’s justice committee, but to be asked to present one of the awards each year.
There were 22 officers who secured a bravery award in the ceremony, among them Coatbridge’s very own fantastic four.
The SPF paid tribute to Sergeant Mark Chivers and constables Neil McBain, Chris Mains and Darren Connor, who were called to reports of a man trying to throw himself from the twelfth floor of the Jackson Court flats in Coatbridge.
In incredibly difficult circumstances, these four police officers, regardless of the risk to their own lives, succeeded in pulling the man to safety.
This annual bravery awards ceremony provides the opportunity to take time to stop and acknowledge, and pay tribute to, the courage of Scotland’s police.
These men and women can never be sure what potential threatening situation they may face when they start the shift on duty.
By contrast, the public can be confident that, whatever the problem or crisis, these frontline officers will go that extra mile to protect us and our local communities across Scotland.
An example of the routine community work which was carried out by police in Lanarkshire was Operation Forward.
In the final months of 2018, an eightweek campaign was carried out targeting crime affecting local communities across Lanarkshire.
The focus was on violent crime, antisocial behaviour, drug offences, and house-breakings.
From the outset this campaign achieved positive results. The first fortnight saw several warrants executed, extra patrols on the streets in areas of house-breakings and arrests made relating to possession of drugs, weapons and unexplained quantities of cash.
As an example, in the week commencing December 10, Monklands alone saw 19 people charged with a variety of offences under the Misuse of Drugs Act with substances ranging from cocaine, cannabis, diamorphine and valium all recovered.
The success of Operation Forward demonstrates that there are few more effective ways of fighting crime than having bobbies-on-the-beat, keeping our local communities safe and deterring would-be criminals.
It is, therefore, to be hoped that when the Scottish government’s budget is finalised, the declining numbers of police on our streets will be addressed.
In the meantime, I wish all emergency service workers and Advertiser readers a healthy and trouble free 2019.
Award winners Sergeant Chivers and constables McBain, Mains and Connor