The Divisional Commander for Aberdeenshire and Moray has hailed the first year of Police Scotland a success with the new national force enhancing local policing for communities.
Chief Superintendent Mark McLaren said the transformation into a single force had built on the best practices of the previous legacy forces such as Grampian Police and helped strengthen community links, backed up by specialist national resources when required.
That has allowed his officers to continue to tackle local issues in an area that has a population of 330,000 people and also take part in national crime initiatives.
Chief Superintendent McLaren added: “Aberdeenshire and Moray are among the safest communities in the country and that has continued under Police Scotland.
“The local policing service that the public expects is still being delivered to the same high standards with no noticeable difference. We can also now call upon other extra resources as and when required.”
Among the national initiatives that Aberdeenshire and Moray has taken part in is Operation RAC against domestic housebreaking.
That brought significant falls in the area with 24% less crimes between November 2013 and March this year while detection rates increased by almost 17%.
A total of 78 people across Aberdeenshire and Moray were arrested or charged with Operation RAC related crimes or warrants while property valued at £106,000 was recovered.
The war on drugs also saw one seizure of heroin in Ellon with a street value of £140,000, one of the biggest drugs seizures in Aberdeenshire in recent years.
Chief Supt McLaren stressed: “While we are fortunate that in the North-east we do not have some of the crime problems that other area may have, we are not going to be complacent about tackling any challenges.
“We will continue to listen to the needs and concerns of our local communities and address the issues they have. Our priorities remain the same - keeping people safe and reducing crime.”
Other successes during the year for the Aberdeenshire and Moray division included Operation Zenith to improve motorcycle safety across the North-east which is about to be rolled out across Scotland.
Looking ahead to the second year of Police Scotland, Chief Supt McLaren said his priorities included reducing anti-social and violent behaviour along with increasing road safety and reducing the number of fatal road accidents.