Lanark-based team wins police award for rural crime fighting

Lanarkshire Rural Crime Group  left to right PC James Higgins, Chief Inspector David Walker, PC Laura Taylor, Mr Tom French (NFU Scotland) and Linda Evans from Police Mutual (award sponsors)
Lanarkshire Rural Crime Group  left to right PC James Higgins, Chief Inspector David Walker, PC Laura Taylor, Mr Tom French (NFU Scotland) and Linda Evans from Police Mutual (award sponsors)

The team behind a crackdown on rural crime in Lanarkshire have won a Police Scotland excellence award.

The annual ceremony’s service improvement award was presented to the team by the national force’s chief constable, Phil Gormley.

It recognises their work in enhancing how they respond to crimes and their efforts in spreading crime prevention messages throughout Lanarkshire’s rural communities.

Their commitment has led to a 42% decrease in reported thefts and improved public trust and confidence.

The police-led multi-agency group also featuring National Farmers’ Union officials was set up in 2015 following a marked increase in rural crimes and to address concerns raised over a perceived lack of response by Police Scotland.

Over the next 18 months, the group co-ordinated a series of crime prevention events, intelligence-led operations and targeted patrols to reduce crime and improve service to rural communities.

Inspector Andy Thomson, of the rural crime initiative at the force’s Lanarkshire division, said: “I am delighted that the work of the group has been recognised.

“The initiative was about reviewing what we were doing and identifying ways in which we could improve our service to the rural community, a community that brings so much to Lanarkshire.

“We involved our partners, particularly NFU Scotland, in every step of the journey, and only by doing so were we able to ensure that we were doing our very best to make Lanarkshire safer and stronger.”

Mr Gormley said: “This awards ceremony demonstrates the tremendous dedication, commitment and professionalism of our officers and staff, from some of our most experienced employees to our newest recruits.

“That’s one of the reasons I am immensely proud to be chief constable of Police Scotland.

“The tireless efforts of officers and staff alike – which are being recognised by their peers and managers by their nominations – all contribute to the national aim of keeping Scotland’s communities and people safe.

“Their dedication is an inspiration to the whole country.

“It is an honour for me to meet the nominees and winners, and hear more about the passion they have for their work, be it a Police Officer, a Special Constable, or a member of police staff. I thank you all for your enthusiasm.