The main national issue of concern to people across Scotland is the threat of terrorism, followed by violent crime, according to the first results from Police Scotland's new online survey, 'Your View Counts'.
The survey has now been live for three months and was completed by more than 10,000 people between April 7 and June 30, 2016.
Analysis of the results, which are published on the Police Scotland website and are broken down by division, show that the main issue of concern at a local level is split between anti-social behaviour, housebreakings and drug dealing or misuse.
Assistant Chief Constable Kate Thomson, who launched the Polish language version of the survey earlier this month, said: "I am delighted with the response we have received so far. It is only by having this direct feedback from communities that we are able to assess the aspirations of the communities we serve.
"Given recent international events, Counter Terrorism and National Security understandably came out on top as a national priority. We are committed to protecting the communities of Scotland by mitigating this threat. We recently announced an increase of 124 armed officers, to ensure we have the capacity and capability across Scotland to respond to any emerging threat, and the use of our armed officers will be a critical factor in our response.
“This is complemented by work which aims to identify and prevent those vulnerable to supporting terrorism, from taking this path, ultimately working in partnership to achieve a safer Scotland.
"Violent Crime was the second highest priority nationally. There are many aspects to violent crime, which take place in both public and private areas, and include robbery, domestic abuse and sexual crime. We are seeing an increase in reporting of some aspects of these crimes, which we understand from partners to be an indication of confidence in our approach and support of victims. The picture of violence varies across the country, so we ensure flexibility of local and specialist support services, to reflect the demand across communities."
As well as giving their view on the national priorities the public are also commenting on priorities for their local areas. While there is some variation of local priorities across Police Scotland’s 13 divisions, there are recurring themes of anti-social behaviour, homes being broken into and drug dealing or misuse. Local Commanders will be updating their communities in the forthcoming weeks on how they will be addressing these issues through meetings and the use of both traditional and social media channels.
ACC Thomson added: "We appreciate the feedback provided, and as a result, now recognise some responses could have been enhanced by either a request for additional information, or a limit to the number of options which could be selected.
“These improvements to the survey have now been updated and will assist us to better understand the views and needs of our communities. This will in turn influence how we deliver excellence in service. We hope the results are clearly presented, however, would be grateful for any constructive suggestions for future change.
“The ongoing survey, which will report quarterly, replaces the annual survey and is hosted on the Police Scotland website:www.scotland.police.uk/yourviewcounts.
"We want to give our communities the opportunity to have their say at a time that is convenient to them, 24 hours a day. Police Scotland continues to meet directly with different communities across the country throughout the year, to ensure everyone can have their say, whether they can access a computer or not. We would encourage those who have not yet done so, to take just 15 minutes of their time to tell us what is important to them about policing.”
The five top national and local priorities identified by the 10,075 people who responded to the survey can be found at the following link: http://www.scotland.police.uk/about-us/decision-making/public-consultation/local-policing-consultation/policing-survey-quarter-1-2016-results