Rise in vandalism providing the most testing challenge for communities

Campbell Thomson - vandalism currently the scourge facing Moray
Campbell Thomson – vandalism currently the scourge facing Moray

MORAY’S CRIME FIGURES reveal that one of the largest issues facing the region is vandalism with a 20% increase in incidents recorded by local police.

In his first report to the local scrutiny board this week as the North East Divisional Commander, Chief Superintendent Campbell Thomson said that it was “particularly disappointing” to not the increase brought about by a few members of the community.

However, the police chief – who took up his role at the start of January – pointed to a 25% decrease in housebreakings and higher detection rates from 13% to 38.2% as encouraging.

Chief Superintendent Thomson said: “It is pleasing to see incidents of housebreaking continue to fall, though the slight rise in dishonesties overall can be largely put down to an increase in thefts from insecure vehicles.

“Preventative measures are ongoing across the area, including dedicated crime patrols and messages to the public to ensure they secure their property and prevent such opportunistic thefts.”

CS Thomson pointed out a significant decrease in people being killed or seriously injured on Moray’s road, but added: “We can never be complacent when it comes to road safety. While there has been a fall in speeding offences, there have been rises in both mobile phone offences and motorists caught driving under the influence.

“We will continue to carry out high visibility patrols under our road safety strategy, Operation CEDAR (Challenge, Educate, Detect and Reduce), a local campaign aimed at encouraging drivers to take more responsibility on the region’s roads.”

It is, however, vandalism that remains a thorn in the side for all Moray communities: “Our officers will continue to focus on crimes of vandalism across Moray, which is a particular priority for the communities of Forres, Keith and Buckie.

“There has been a 20% increase in vandalisms since last year. Officers launched Operation Regard in Forres last year to tackle vandalism cases and target offenders. The operation has subsequently moved its focus onto other towns in Moray which has led to improved detection rates.

“It is, however, particularly disappointing to see a few totally irresponsible individuals causing such needless harm in communities by committing acts of vandalism. I would appeal to everyone to let us know who these individuals are so we can take action to stop such antisocial behaviour.

“The North East remains one of the safest areas in the country and that is in no small part thanks to the hard work and dedication of our local officers and staff working as ever with partners and most importantly the communities themselves.”