Having been the Community Policing Team Inspector in Northfield for nearly a year now, this is an ideal time for me to reflect on what a 12 months they have been, and particularly as we all navigate our way through lockdown.
Whilst policing has adapted to the challenges Covid-19 has presented over the past few months, for me it has been the resilience of our local residents that has been the most remarkable – but unsurprising – thing of all. If there is anything I have learned about the community it’s that you take adversity and challenges in your stride and you get on with things, going out of your way to help your neighbours and support others in your community.
So that Police Scotland can do its absolute best to support you as you all support each other, my team has been addressing the issues which we have been told affect your quality of life most, including drug-related crime, the antisocial use of motorcycles, and the safe use of online platforms by our young people.
We either do this directly or as a local partnership, and I must highlight just how closely we work together with our partners in the area and how much we value their support.
I appreciate that sometimes people may not want to contact the police directly using 101 but we have so many other ways you can get in touch with someone who can help – you can e-mail, you can speak to police officers attending community council meetings, you can contact a community councillor, a city councillor or a housing officer, or you can pop into the hub and speak with the support workers based there. We, as a group of partners, are very much a community and here to support you.
Let me take this chance to stress that not every single issue is a matter for the police, however, we will often know exactly who to put you in touch with. As a group, the local authority will want to hear about rubbish dumped at the side of the road, a constantly noisy party, or a barking dog which is affecting your quality of life, while housing will want to hear about the concerns their tenants have regarding their local area.
Police Scotland? Well, in addition to all the regular things we want to hear about, we also want to know of any older people who haven’t been out for a while, a vulnerable neighbour who suddenly has a lot of new friends, or perhaps a young person who might appear happy to be left to their own devices, but they are left on their own for considerable periods of time. Our aim is to not only assist these individuals directly, but we also want to support you – the wider community – to feel comfortable contacting us and to be confident that we will address your concerns.
I’m not for one moment suggesting people spy on each other, but as the Covid-19 pandemic has shown, when people in Northfield look out for each other and show a bit of interest in our neighbours and the local area, we really can look after the most vulnerable and make our little corner of Aberdeen a nicer and safer place to live and work in.
Finally, while I have used the term Northfield throughout my article, one of the most important things I have learned is that it is composed of Middlefield, Byron, Cummings Park, Heathryfold, and more, all with their own proud history but with a shared sense of community. From a policing perspective, it is clear this sense of community has been prevalent across all the villages which make up Aberdeen throughout these challenging times.