Police welcome reduction in violence over holiday weekend

Police had issued a stark warning to encourage people to enjoy themselves but behave sensibly and responsibly
Police had issued a stark warning to encourage people to enjoy themselves but behave sensibly and responsibly

Officers in the North East have welcomed the general good behaviour of individuals enjoying the public holiday May weekend.

Police had issued a stark warning to encourage people to enjoy themselves but behave sensibly and responsibly after the same three-day weekend in 2016 resulted in several crimes of violence being dealt with.

More than 110 people were arrested in the days leading up to or during this May weekend which helped contribute towards a significant reduction in crime, with 80% less serious assaults and more than 12% less common assaults reported, compared to the same period last year.

A number of extra officers were on patrol within Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray as part of Operation PINE, the division's high profile violence prevention strategy, and specialist officers were involved in a crackdown on those responsible for violent crime.

More than 138 warrants were executed and over 82 people wanted for violent crimes or on warrant for outstanding crimes, failure to appear at court, failure to comply with court orders and non-payment of fines, were arrested in the lead up to the weekend.

Fine defaulters with an accumulated debt of over £8,600 were also dealt with.

Of those arrested, 54 people were wanted in connection with crimes of violence, 10 were wanted for drugs offences and 8 for thefts.

Other warrants dealt with during the initiative included crimes such as robbery, reset, offensive weapons, fraud, vandalism and road traffic offences. A further six arrests were made for people who had breached court orders.

In addition, a 39-year old male and 35-year old female were arrested for a previous serious assault in Tillydrone, while two males aged 28 and 21 years have been arrested for a serious assault in Keith and two males aged 51 and 25 years have been reported for serious assaults in Stonehaven.

Other arrests included a 23-year old male found in possession of over £1300 worth of heroin and crack cocaine in Aberdeen City Centre. He was also found to be wanted for outstanding crimes in West Midlands and Staffordshire.

Five drugs search warrants executed in the Elgin and Fraserburgh areas and a cannabis cultivation was discovered in New Deer.

Officers have been working in partnership with representatives of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and Scottish Court Service along with other service providers from the voluntary and third sectors.

Chief Inspector Murray Main, who leads the violence prevention work in the North East, said: "I am very grateful for the support we received from a number of our partners on what has previously been an extremely challenging weekend for the emergency services.

"The high-visibility policing operations in the lead up to and throughout the weekend period, along with the multi-agency partnerships across the North East encouraged people to enjoy their nights out safely and responsibly."

Sergeant Willie Murdoch, from the Divisional Alcohol and Violence Reduction Unit who lead the operation, said: "During the initiative we targeted suspects and those responsible for violence in our communities. By working with partners and other agencies we were able to arrest and bring before the court, those responsible for committing crime or those who have not paid fines imposed.

"This helps to ensure people can enjoy their time out with family and friends free from trouble caused by a small minority of individuals."