POLICE officers are taking the unusual step of moving into the historic Inverness Town House in an innovative initiative to tackle a growing problem of anti-social behaviour in the centre of the Highland capital.
A new office was established within the building today.
The office will be used primarily by police officers from the Inverness Community Beats Unit, who were previously based within Burnett Road Police Station.
It is aimed to allow for improved communications with colleagues from across other agencies, who are either already in the building or are readily available nearby.
Inspector Andrew Blakey said: “It was always part of a longer-term plan to have agencies working under the same roof in order to assist joint working.
“he Community Beat officers will have an office within the Town House.
“This has been achieved within 18 months of the start of the Inverness Response Team and is an indication of the determination of all the partners to work closer together in order to achieve better outcomes and be more effective in tackling antisocial behaviour.
“One additional benefit of the office will be an enhanced presence of uniformed officers within the city centre.” He added: “The initiative was built on the success of Operation Notebook which seeks to reduce incidents of antisocial behaviour in and around domestic premises, and Operation Respect, which is aimed predominantly at reducing city centre violence and disorder linked to licensed premises, in which partners were already collaborating. “The key aspect of the Inverness Response Team is to focus on prevention and intervention rather than allowing situations to develop out of control.
“It should be noted that the new office will not act as an operational police station, this will of course remain at Burnett Road, but will allow easier access for partnership working.” Inverness Provost Helen Carmichael said: “Police Scotland are a key partner in the work with partners as part of our Inverness Response Team.
“This initiative has been extremely successful and the early intervention has led to a reduction in antisocial behaviour in the Inverness area and a safer and more pleasant environment for our communities.
“The co-location of police colleagues in the Town House will help to build on this excellent partnership work into the future.”
READ MORE: Police Scotland in new row over gun patrols The Inverness Response Team, which was formed in September 2014, aims to tackle antisocial behaviour in Inverness, where some areas received many call outs.
The Response Team is primarily made up of representatives from Police Scotland, Highland Council and Scottish Fire and Rescue, who meet on a daily basis to discuss reports of antisocial behaviour and disorder at addresses across the city. Each agency has a lead professional with responsibility to ensure action can be taken. The key is dynamic and quick action with an emphasis is on joint working. Visits are made same day, actions are progressed, logged and then reviewed either the following day or on a set review date. Over 700 referrals have been dealt with since the initiative’s creation.
The number of repeat calls is said to have substantially decreased, with problems being identified more quickly and appropriate resolutions being reached sooner.