Fife Division of Police Scotland took to the ice to launch its annual festive safety campaign.
Members of the force were joined by players from Fife Flyers at the Ice Arena in Kirkcaldy as plans were unveiled to help keep Fifers safe across the festive period.
From tomorrow (Friday) officers across Fife will be out on the streets to provide the public with useful safety and crime prevention advice.
Speaking at the launch, Divisional Commander for Fife, Chief Superintendent Colin Gall, said whilst he hoped Fifers would get into the Christmas and New Year spirit, he asked that they do so safely.
“We came here to the Fife Ice Arena to launch Fife’s Festive Safety campaign,” he said, “We’ve been joined by the Fife Flyers and I thank them for their support in helping to get our message across.
“Our priorities as we move into the festive period highlight a number of concerns that come around every year.”
Those concerns have been identified as the ‘5 Ps’ – part of the Fife local policing plan which was launched about four weeks ago.
This approach to tackling crime and antisocial behaviour is paying dividends, with the latest Police Scotland figures showing reductions in key areas.
The initiatives are;
Operation Path – to reduce violence;
Operation Principle – tackling acquisitive crime which includes crimes such as housebreaking;
Operation Prospect – focusing on the misuse and supply of drugs;
Operation Prevail – addressing antisocial behaviour; and
Operation Paramount – promoting road safety.
CS Gall explained: “Our operations were chosen according to the priorities that local people have highlighted in our Your View Counts survey, as well as areas where we want to reduce crime and make Fife an even safer place to live, work and visit.
“The reductions in these priority crime types, and increase in information received to help us tackle drug offences, are welcomed but we are not complacent and our operations will continue apace. The support of our communities is central to our ongoing success in these areas.
“We will continue with these priorities throughout the festive period. It allows us to focus on vulnerable areas as the month progresses.”
Preventative measures are one way in which the police attempt to crack down on incidents of domestic abuse and violence and DCI John Anderson said risk factors leading to cases of domestic abuse increase at this time of year
“It can be because people are short of money or excessive alcohol is consumed,” he said.
“Our response to that is one of prevention, early intervention and targeting those who know to be a risk to vulnerable people.
“That can be twofold: Messaging victims to provide them with confidence and reassurance. We know that these offences go hidden within in our communities so we want to encourage people who have been the victim of domestic abuse or violence to report that to us.
“But we are also proactive as well. If there are individuals that we know are a risk to their partners, or who have been historically, we will look to engage with them to try and deter them from committing offences over this period and to let them know that if they do and they come to our attention then they will face the full force of Police Scotland.
“We do enjoy good detection rates and that early intervention does allow us to monitor a decrease of repeat offenders over the festive period and we hope to see that continue.”
CS Gall also asked that members of the public remain vigilant to reduce incidents of housebreaking, to be careful online and said that there would be and increased police presence on the busiest nights across Fife.
One area which is always a concern over Christmas is drink driving and CS Gall said that there had been progress in that area.
“The figures are decreasing year on year for drink driving. What will become more prevalent is impaired driving through drugs. Here if Fife we do have the testing kits now for drugs and we will utilise them if we feel anyone’s driving is impaired through drugs.”
Inspector Brenda Sinclair of Road Policing said that people driving the next day after a night out could still be over the limit.
She said: “With the lower drink-drive limit that we have now people will go on a night out and think they’ll stop drinking at 10 o’clock so think they’ll be okay.
“But it doesn’t really matter what size you are, what you’ve had to eat or if you’ve had lots of water when you get home, the next day you still have alcohol in your system.
“So please leave it for 24 hours before you start driving again.”
Figures show that you’re now far less likely to become a victim of an assault in Fife than you were five years ago.
CS Gall said: “We do see these figures going down and hopefully that is through the preventative and protective measure that we can put in place through the police and our partners that we work with.”
But he did have another message for Fifers.
“Enjoy!” he said. “That’s been an element of our festive launch with the Flyers but I do have to emphasise that there is a serious message here.
“Do not drink and drive, be aware of what your alcohol intake is, be aware of where your friends are, make sure you know how you’re getting home at night and, above all, stay safe.”