Policing in Levenmouth has just entered a new era due to the appointment of a brand new Chief Inspector.
Here, Lori Cormack talks to the former CI Graeme Kinmond about his time in charge in Levenmouth, and finds out what the challenges for the future will be from the new CI Adrian Annandale.
Graeme Kinmond has enjoyed a long career with the police in Fife.
He joined the force in Dunfermline in 1984.
From there he worked in CID at Glenrothes, and back in Dunfermline, before being promoted to sergeant in 2001, based in St Andrews.
And in 2008, he found himself in Levenmouth, working on the HOLMES team as part of Operation Shield - the investigation into the murders of Ryan and Michelle Thomson.
As he says, “Basically I never left”.
Keen to stay in the area, CI Kinmond made his way through the ranks as station inspector, community inspector and then chief inspector in 2011.
Having worked in all seven policing areas in Fife at one time or another during his career, he said Levenmouth is definitely his favourite.
“Levenmouth is obviously my favourite because of the challenges that are faced here. And you could actually see physical results from what you were doing, so there has been quite considerable achievements in my six years here.
‘‘Obviously, I have to praise a number of officers, but it isn’t just the police, in this area, it’s all about partnership working which has made by job easier at times - but still challenging.”
For CI Kinmond, there has been quite a concertered effort to rid the area of it’s somewhat tarnished label.
“I think the general consensus here is that there has been an effort to improve the area and improve the image of the area. Yes, it does have a bad reputation traditionally - wrongfully I think - and you know, ‘Methil No More’ from the Proclaimers might stick in people’s minds.
“But there has been huge regeneration here at Diageo and with renewables and the biggest turbine in the world; there has been investment in the area, all for the good, and we have the new school coming, so I think there’s a positivity around the place and there is a future for this area.”
He added: “I think in the six years there has been a significant increase in the detection rates across a whole range of offences.
Traditionally this area was bad for serious crime, so our concentration was on that, but maybe to the detriment of lesser crimes.
But now, we are trying to achieve a much better balance, so although there’s been that significant increase, more importantly, we want to stop crime because it’s fine to detect it but better to stop it.”
Due to officially retire at the end of this month, CI Kinmond has already handed over command of Levenmouth to new CI Adrian Annandale. But with both Levenmouth and north east Fife included in the new East Area Command, CI Kinmond said the new chief has a challenge on his hands.
“Adrian has got a challenge because he has got an area twice the size I had. But I know Adrian very well, we’ve worked closely on a number of things, and he basically has the challenge of continuing what we’ve been doing.
“It’s certainly going in the right direction, and hopefully it will continue to do so - detection rates already this month are slightly increased! So there’s a positive feel about policing for this area.”
Following the amalgamation of legacy forces under Police Scotland in 2013, Levenmouth is now under East Area Command, and the new Chief Inspector for that area is Adrian Annandale.
After joining the police cadets in 1989 in Dunfermline, he joined the force a year later, and was posted in St Andrews until 1998.
After a stint in road policing, he was promoted to sergeant at Levenmouth in 2004, before going back to road policing until 2008.
He then worked as inspector in both Glenrothes and Kirkcaldy, before being promoted to temporary CI in 2010.
He did various roles at headquarters in Glenrothes, before being posted to north east Fife in 2013 as area commander.
Having been in the role of CI for just over a month, it’s been a welcome return to Levenmouth for Adrian.
“It’s been ten years since I was in Levenmouth and I’ve seen a big difference in the place.
‘‘Coming back, there’s a huge difference - it’s much more vibrant.
‘‘There’s obvious leadership here, there’s obvious ownership and obvious community policing.
‘‘That community policing is strong and the support from all of the officers here is all very good and strong and I’ve noticed a change in that since working here previously.”
For CI Annandale, the new role means carrying on all of the hard work which has already been put in place.
“I want to carry on the good work of Graeme, and it needs to be recognised that he has done a lot of good work over a number of years here. Firstly supporting the chief inspectors when he was inspector, then latterly when he was in charge.
‘‘So, the foundations are there and I don’t see any reason to come in and chance anything dramatically because it’s working and it’s working well.”
‘Keeping People Safe’ is the Police Scotland promise, and CI Annandale is keen to see that carried out across his new command.
But with such a big area to police, how will he cope with the demand?
“The processes and structures are such that the two areas will work well, and are already working well.
‘‘I have a great team within each area so with the support of those officers, as well as the elected members and the communities, then it will be a case of sharing my time between the two areas and so far, it has been working okay.
‘‘There has been no issues because I have that good support. It’s not broken, so I’m not going to try and fix it.”
Off the back of the first anniversary of Police Scotland, CI Annandale said the new set-up has benefited Levenmouth greatly over the past twelve months in a number of cases, including the recent incident at Simon Crescent in Methilhill, and during the search for Thomas Brown last December.
“You name it, we’ve probably had it here over the last year. Had that fallen on us as a legacy force, there would no doubt have been an impact on our ability to provide an effective service at some point, because we would have had to tackle that ourselves, and that would have all come at a price as well.
“That’s one of the main things, that for the serious incidents that we have had over the year, we have sought and have been given, willingly, the additional resources, which have been a huge help for us.
‘‘And I think as the service grows older, the processes will become slicker and it will become second nature to us.”