LEADING Scottish crime writer Stuart MacBride today helped launch Operation Oak, Police Scotland’s festive campaign in Aberdeen.
The author, whose series of best selling novels featuring Detective Sergeant Logan McRae are set in the Granite City, joined members of the force, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, the Aberdeen City Alcohol and Drugs Partnership and Aberdeen Street Pastors for the official launch in the city’s Castlegate.
It is anticipated that the city centre will welcome an additional 35,000 people a day throughout the Festive Season and Operation Oak will involve the force deploying extra patrols to the area and working with more than 70 partner agencies to target anti-social behaviour and violence during the five-week campaign.
Mr MacBride, whose latest book “A Song for the Dying” will be published next month, said: “The North east is a terrific place - the best bit of Scotland by far - and Aberdeen’s going to have a fantastic atmosphere over the festive period. Like most people, I’ll be socialising with my friends but I’ll be doing so responsibly and I hope others will be too.”
Safe and fun time
He continued: “The extra bobbies on the streets are going to make a big difference to how it feels being out there. And, hopefully, we can all look forward to a safe and fun time in town.”
Chief Superintendent Adrian Watson, Commander of the Aberdeen
Division, said: “Aberdeen is one of the safest cities in Scotland and enjoys a strong economy which attracts a vibrant night life and we welcome that.
“Operation Oak has been highly successful over the years and we are
committed to continuing to work with our partner agencies to build on that progress. That is why the campaign will see additional patrols.
“Statistics have shown that in the first six months of Police Scotland violent crime in Aberdeen City Centre has fallen by nearly 20 per cent, compared to the same period last year. Reports also indicate that anti-social behaviour has dropped by 30 per cent.”
But he stressed: “There is no room for complacency as there are still many challenges. Alcohol features all too regularly in reported violence and it is so important that we continue to support our partners with work further upstream in finding the longer term
“Our message is clear, we want people to enjoy themselves this festive season but to do so in a safe and responsible manner. The increased police presence is to ensure that people visiting the city can enjoy what is on offer without hassle. It is clear that only a minority cause problems and we are here to make sure there is an emphasis on personal responsibility.”
Councillor Martin Greig, chairman of the local Community Safety Partnership, praised the initiative. He said: “Oak has made a considerable improvement in public safety in the city centre so it is vital for this operation to continue. Extra resources and attention have been given by Police, Fire, Council, Street Pastors, the private sector and others to build up the partnership approach that helps to protect both victims and potential victims.
“Oak has been a key focus for tackling crime and disorder in the city centre. City centre businesses have shown a commendable sense of responsibility by cooperating closely as active members of this important safety campaign. By supporting the police, we can all play a part in making the city centre a safer and more attractive environment for everyone.”