Figures reveal that folk in the Shire feel safer than ever before

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NEW figures show that people in Aberdeenshire are feeling safer than at any time over the last three years.

A report to Aberdeenshire Council’s policy and resources committee details improvements to the approach to community safety and anti-social behaviour.

Community safety is delivered by a range of partners, operating under the Community Planning Partnership who all work to achieve a common goal.

The 2010 Citizens’ Panel Community Safety survey results show that over the past three years, the proportion of people feeling unsafe while walking alone in their town centre during the evening/night has reduced (from 50% of respondents in 2007 to 42% of respondents in 2010) and the proportion of people who feel that the level of crime in their local area has decreased has risen (from 8% of respondents in 2007 to 24% of respondents in 2010).

Most of the indicators for antisocial behaviour have dropped to their lowest levels in three years.

In addition, the proportion of people who have either personally experienced or witnessed people taking drugs has fallen and Police reports of domestic abuse have also reduced.

A new set of priorities has been agreed for 2011/12. These will ensure that reduced budgets are targeted as effectively as possible and to help maintain the positive trend for community safety activity across Aberdeenshire.

The priorities for the year are Promoting Safety and Preventing Accidents; Reducing Antisocial Behaviour; and Violence Reduction and Prevention.

Action plans are being developed which will enable partners to intervene at an early stage to prevent problems from occurring, for example by providing advice and education, diversionary activities and additional support. Enforcement measures will also be utilised, but only when all other reasonable approaches have failed.

Chair of policy and resources committee Cllr Anne Robertson, welcomed the report.

She said: “It is because of early intervention and the collaboration and partnership working that we can point to this being such a success.

“We want to minimise criminal activity across Aberdeenshire and this evidence demonstrates that our approach is working.”