Police and partners in Aberdeenshire launched the highly successful ‘Safer Streets’ festive policing campaign in Inverurie today (Wednesday).
The operation will see additional high-visibility patrols across Aberdeenshire and officers will be targeting anti-social behaviour, theft and violence.
Local Area Commander Chief Inspector Murray Main said: “Across Aberdeenshire our many towns and villages will be lively during the day and at night while people prepare for and enjoy the festive period.
“We are encouraging people to go out and enjoy themselves but to do so in a responsible manner.
“We will be working closely with partner agencies including Aberdeenshire Council, the other emergency services, those within the third sector along with the licensed trade, business communities and those who help convey people safely to and from home to ensure those who need help are supported.
"There will be an increase in joint high-visibility police and Criminal Justice Social Work patrols and additional visits to licensed premises will take place throughout the lead up to the Christmas and New Year period to ensure that people have a safe and enjoyable time.
Mike Ogg, Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership Manager said: “Working alongside our partners from Police Scotland, the licensed trade, Aberdeenshire Council’s Criminal Justice Social Work and Community Substance Misuse Service can help to ensure that people enjoy the atmosphere at venues and in town centres across Aberdeenshire during the festive period, without worrying about their safety.”
Kat Gordon, Chair of the Garioch Pub Watch Scheme, said: “The Pub Watch Scheme helps licencees’ and staff maintain standards and deal with the relatively small but often persistent number of individuals who cause issues in, at or near licensed premises.
“The Scheme helps to create a secure night time economy for people to work and enjoy and the Festive Safer Streets initiative is another important opportunity to further reduce crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour across the area.”
Chief Inspector Main added: “We want to ensure the minority do not get the opportunity to ruin it for those who are looking to go out and enjoy themselves over the festive period.
“A small number of people will look to take advantage of the situation to cause issues or commit retail crimes, including shoplifting or other thefts such as stealing handbags, purses or wallets.
“The festive period is one of the busiest times of the year for police and our partners. It’s a great time for people to catch up with friends and family but don’t leave yourself vulnerable.
“Officers across Scotland will also be concentrating their efforts on preventing and detecting drink and drug-driving in support of the annual festive drink/drug drive campaign.
“The campaign will see extra visibility and activity throughout the country, including across the North East, to tackle the small minority of reckless road users who continue to break the law.”
The operation which also runs through the summer months at games and shows across the region has helped cut incidents of violence, with serious assaults in particular down over 21% in Aberdeenshire so far this year.