Top cop defends rise in Glenrothes stop and search

Chief Inspector Nicola Shepherd
Chief Inspector Nicola Shepherd

The new Glenrothes police chief has defended the large rise in the number of stop and search instances across the town in the last 12 months.

Chief Inspector Nicola Shepherd told councillors at this month’s Area Committee meeting that the powers were being used responsibly, despite figures highlighting that searches conducted had risen by 54 per cent.

She said that targeting specific areas of criminality and focusing on a “preventative approach” had helped reduce instances of crime within the Glenrothes area.

“Tackling violence is one of our main priorities and one of the main things that we can do to prevent that is stop and search,“ she told members.

“We are focusing on the right people, in the right places and at right times.”

“Not only is it a deterrent but it prevents people from committing further crimes. But stop and search will always be proportionate.”

A report to councillors highlighted that searches in Glenrothes were historically higher than the Fife average. The number of stop and searches conducted rose from 899 from April 2012 to February 2013 , to 1390 in the same period in 2013-14.

The number of positive searches rose from 58 to 405 in the same periods,representing a huge increase of 590 per cent.

Ms Shepherd said the powers effectively target criminals involved in the movement or supply of drugs, misuse of alcohol and the carrying of weapons remains a central tactic officers across the force. It’s use in ‘hotspots’ such as Glenwood has helped to reduce crime within the area.