LAST week, I presented our six-month interim police report to East Lothian Council’s police, fire and community safety scrutiny committee – I’d now like to take the opportunity to provide some additional context to the figures and highlight some successes over the past six months.

Police Scotland has invested in new technology and now every officer carries with them a handheld computer, able to perform functions where previously they would have had to return to the station. This has freed up valuable time and increased the opportunities for more visible patrolling of our communities.

We have implemented a new operating model to assess the threat and risk within each call made to our 101 system, and we now provide more opportunities for officers to attend appointments when and where it suits you.

We have also introduced new ‘cyber kiosks’ which allow us to examine mobile phones, increasing opportunities to protect the most vulnerable much quicker.

Locally, we have introduced a new community model of policing to provide better resilience across the county and have implemented Operation Juneau to tackle substance misuse.

Within the police report, all the data has been affected in some way by Covid-19 and it is really difficult to make accurate comparisons against previous years.

Our figures show a significant rise in anti-social behaviour and public nuisance, but this is down to calls made in regards to concerns regarding Covid-19.

There is a huge drop in acquisitive crimes, with house breakings, thefts and shoplifting all down as, due to lockdown, many more people have been at home or home working, reducing opportunities for thieves.

Violence is down based on previous years, with common assaults reduced by 11.2 per cent and domestic abuse crimes down by nearly 10 per cent, which can be attributed to significant focused efforts by a wide variety of agencies and passionate people.

Reports of missing people, a key priority for us, have dropped by 34 per cent. This is really pleasing and down to some fantastic partnership work.

We still have a long way to go but I am confident East Lothian is in a really good place.

My final comment here is to tell you that Inspector Andrew Harborow will be retiring in a few weeks from Police Scotland and his job here as deputy local area commander. Andrew has over 30 years’ service for the police and has worked in East Lothian for the last 10. He is a dedicated and passionate officer who has given his all to make the area the best it can be. He has built long lasting partnerships and excellent relations with a variety of agencies and is rightly proud of his achievements. He will be a huge loss to the county and I wish him well for his retirement.

There is currently a competitive process to find his replacement and I will update you all on our social media channels when this has been completed.