Police officer who swapped the streets of Edinburgh for the Outer Hebrides
IT doesn’t look much like a crime hotspot. The beautiful white sandy beaches of the Outer Hebrides are a world away from daily life in the Capital.
But even Scotland’s remoter spots need someone to keep an eye on them.
And Constable Sara Hamilton has swapped her job as a detective in the economic crime unit in Edinburgh for a six-month summer secondment to patrol the islands of Barra and Vatersay.
Instead of tracking the sly trickery of Capital conmen she will be driving a police car around the islands.Barra - nearly five hours by ferry from Oban - is about 11 miles long, six miles wide, with a population of 1174, a beach airport and a single track road along
part of its coast, and is connected by a 200-metre causeway to the smaller island of Vatersay, which has a population of just 90.
Sara said: “When I applied for my secondment last summer I never imagined then that we would be faced with the challenges we are faced with now. All the same, I’m thrilled to get the opportunity to help the people of Barra and Vatersay as we all get through this.
“In my other role within economic crime unit I am aware that fraudsters are, even in these unprecedented circumstances, exploiting and stealing from individuals and businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.
“This has included posing as a legitimate organisation and using emails, texts, telephone calls and WhatsApp messages to offer goods, services, advice or treatment for the coronavirus.”
Highlands and Islands Police Scotland facebook page introduced Sara to the community, saying: “Eagle-eyed Barra residents have seen a new face driving around in the police car in the past weeks while you have been enjoying your daily exercise or popping to the shops for essential groceries or medicine.”
It said Sara is supplementing the two permanent officers based on Barra.
Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil, who lives on Barra, said: “It must be a sign of falling crime that Police Scotland can afford to up its presence on Barra by 50 percent. I hope Sara enjoys her time in Barra, one of the most law abiding communities there is.”
Another local joked: “She is lovely - she might even end-up causing a crime wave among the guys here!”
People have welcomed Sara’s six month secondment on Facebook.
Former policeman Murdo O’Connor wrote:”I have the privilege of being the first police officer to drive a recognised police vehicle on the island of Vatersay back in 1990!”
Maura Macnaughton, said:”Lucky change! You will be so energised by the sheer beauty of the place and it’s residents Good luck but you won’t need it.”
Charlie Gillies added:”Enjoy your service on the most beautiful island in the Hebrides! Missed opportunity during my service. Nice people, nice place, retired 18 years but still have fondness for the island.”
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