Crime Prevention Advice During The Coronavirus Outbreak

Police Scotland have created this document to provide advice to Business and Home owners during these unprecedented times. 

Advice and information is changing daily as we navigate our way through the COVID-19 pandemic, so please ensure you only take information from trusted sources. 

Please consider signing up for the Neighbourhood Watch Scotland Alert system to receive regular updates from the Police and partner agencies on what is happening in your area –

https://nwscotland.neighbourhoodalert.co.uk/

National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) 

NCSC have launched the new Cyber Aware campaign promoting behaviours to mitigate cyber threat. The cross-governmental ‘Cyber Aware’ campaign, offers actionable advice for people to protect passwords, accounts and devices. You can find out more about what NCSC have launched recently here.https://www.ncsc.gov.uk  This includes new guidance for individuals and organisations using online video conferencing.

Closed Premises/Venues that have been temporarily closed:

  • Test your alarm, ensure it is monitored and fully operational 
  • Identify any vulnerable areas. Rectify these. 
  • Ensure service doors are closed and locked when not in use  
  • Make sure you have list of key holders who can be contacted in times of emergency. 
  • Consider moving high value items into secured stockrooms and out of view
  • Ensure keys to the premises or other venues are not left inside and are instead with dedicated key holders.
  • Consider timer switches or ensure sufficient lighting is left on at the premises/surrounding area.
  • Ensure there are no combustible materials left in the proximity of the building such as packaging – consider the risk of fire-raising 
  • Review your CCTV to confirm it is operational, provides good quality images and is positioned to cover as much of the stores public and private areas. You may wish to consider a mobile phone app that allows connectivity and a vocal capacity to engage with any intruder 
  • Ensure that no cash is retained on the premises overnight (consider placing a note on your premises stating that no cash or valuables are kept overnight) or store monies in a security accredited safe bolted to the floor 

Physical Protective Measures  

  • Secure by Design products – use security rated products where possible.  
  • Ensure all doors leading from public to staff arteries-loading areas etc are kept secure and monitored. – Laminated glass or security film that can be applied to existing glass to make it more resistant to a physical assault. Shutters and grilles, subject to planning regulations, may also be a consideration 
  • An insurance rated safe should be bolted to the floor. Anti-tamper sensors can be fitted to set off an alarm if attacked 
  • Consider use of anti-theft alarms on most desirable household item
  • Fogging devices that activate as a result of an intruder activation may also be beneficial-you can’t steal what you can’t see

Targeting of works vans

  • Best practice is to remove all valuables from any unoccupied work vehicle
  • Vans are often targeted by thieves for the tools stored inside. If you have to leave tools in a van overnight, it’s a good idea to mark them clearly with your name / company name and address using paint pens and seal with a clear lacquer spray. 
  • Alternatively, you can use a variety of other property marking systems. Items that are clearly marked are less desirable and more difficult to sell on
  • Consider using a lockable cabinet within your van to store tools – a number of security rated products are available.
  • Small cameras are also designed to record inside vehicles. 
  • You can also take photographs of items of value, make a note of the serial numbers and consider registering them online at a property register site.

Securing Diesel in vehicles:

Ensure your vehicle is locked when unattended, consider installing anti-siphon devices.

OFTEC or the “Oil Firing Technical Association for the petroleum industry” offers advice and guidance for those who use and store oil at their premises.

There are certain rules and regulations that may apply to you and OFTEC will help clarify these for you. They can be reached at: www.oftec.org or by calling 0845 6585 080.

Building Sites

A building site with tools, materials, plants and other machinery lying about can be very inviting to a thief. The site can also be used as a route to break into adjacent premises. Here are a few simple tips to help keep your site more secure:

  • Set up CCTV
  • Fences or hoardings are effective and should be used whenever possible.
  • Good security lighting
  • Cash should not be kept on site when possible
  • Machinery should be left in a well-lit part of the site with the keys removed.
  • Fit wheel clamps and/or locking posts or consider an alarm.
  • Park larger vehicles in front of access doors to prevent easy access.
  • Security locks and ground fixings are great for extra security
  • Keep a record of engine numbers chassis number, vehicle ID numbers etc.
  • Mark all of your tools with a unique identification number, photograph them and 
    keep a record of it. 
  • Store your tools in a secure area or take off site.
  • Display a contact board outside the site at all times giving names and telephone numbers of staff who can easily be contacted to respond to any concerns of the police
  • Take down scaffolds structure down.
  • Stop unauthorised people from climbing up any structure by using sheet material, overhangs or other methods
  • If necessary use scaffolding alarms.

Around your home

  • Make sure you lock your home – this includes when you go to bed.
  • Always set alarms and use security devices whenever possible.
  • Also ensure you lock outbuildings, garages & sheds 
  • Remove keys from the internal locks of doors and, along with any other keys, store them out of sight.
  • Make sure you utilise window locks and remove the keys from the locks and the area around the window.
  • Ensure there is sufficient lighting around your home by using low level dusk to dawn lighting and also PIR (movement detection) lighting.  
  • Make sure your home looks occupied by using timer switches especially as the dark evenings approach.
  • Close blinds when appropriate to ensure there is no line of sight into your home.
  • Never leave anything of value in your garden.
  • Do not leave items (spades, ladders, etc.) insecure that could be used top effect unauthorised entry into your home, vehicle or outbuilding.
  • Lock all vehicles and keep the keys out of general view in your locked house. 
  • Never leave anything in sight in your car and remove all valuable items completely
  • Park your car in a well-lit location and if possible have it the subject of movement detection lighting. 
  • Make sure you lock your garage, shed or outbuilding.
  • All items in the garage shed or outbuilding which are of value or easily moved should be secured to the fabric of the building or other similar items.
  • Any windows in the garage shed or outbuilding should be covered by a blind or a curtain and if light is not a major necessity they should be boarded up.
  • Where up and over garage doors are used consider installing bolts and padlocks at the bottom of each side of the door.  Padlocks can also be put through the runner rails at the top of the doors.

The Safer Communities, Safer Scotland booklet aims to bring together key security and safety advice in a handy and very usable A5 booklet.

It is the product of a wider Building Safer Communities partnership and contains a wide range of contributions from organisations such as Police Scotland, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks, amongst others. It is free to download at 

https://www.neighbourhoodwatchscotland.co.uk/security-advice/our-safer-scotland-booklet/home

Further information can be found here:

https://www.securedbydesign.com/

https://www.sbrcentre.co.uk/

www.scotland.police.uk                                              

Help For Communities

A new website and phoneline launched today, providing people all across Grampian with information on how to access social, practical and emotional support on Coronavirus (COVID-19).  

The new Assistance Hub goes live this morning, pulling together links to the latest advice from a range of partners including all three local authorities, Police, Health, Red Cross, volunteers and community information. It is a site for anyone in Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and Moray, with information for residents and businesses alike.   

The website address is www.GCAH.org.uk or call 0808 196 3384 (8am-8pm 7 days a week). The number will complement other helplines, including Aberdeen City Council’s Crisis Support Line, which was launched last week and can be reached directly on 0800 0304 713.

The website is full of links with up-to-date information. The main objective is as a focal point for information and assistance for anyone affected by coronavirus anywhere in Grampian. It is also a way for residents to offer their support which they can safely deliver in their communities. Staff are on the phone to provide callers with up to date information, or to link them up with the right person who can quickly answer questions.  Another important feature is that the site can be used to request help on behalf of someone else, allowing friends and neighbours to signpost to someone in need. 

Lib Dem councillor for Kingswells, Sheddocksley, Summerhill said, “There’s so many useful new websites popping up offering advice about the coronavirus, public services, the lockdown and much more, that people are getting confused about where to go to locate specific information”.

“The amount of work which has gone into Aberdeen City Council’s coronavirus page is commendable as it the Business Gateway, NHS Grampian’s dedicated resource and a number of others but now we need to join the dots so people can find what they need quickly and easily without having to check a dozen sites with the risk that they encounter misinformation amongst the wealth of fact based resources”.

“My advice is simple, make the Advice Hub your homepage and you can’t go wrong. It links directly to all the other pages but offers much more besides, in a user friendly interface. Thanks to all the public sector partners in our area for this invaluable resource”.

GREC are running a hate crime awareness campaign from 14 October to 17 November, to help people understand what hate crime is, how to report it, what support is available and how to access it.

The main element of the campaign is a poster – see below. Can you please share this far and wide?

They also want to get the message into as many locations as possible. If you’d like to help with this, please stop by the GREC office at 41 Union Street to pick up some posters – there are A3, A4 and postcard size versions available. They are open Monday to Friday, 10am – 4pm. If you want a large batch (20+ posters) they can deliver to locations in Aberdeen.

And if you see the poster when you’re out and about, please take a photo and share on social media! On Twitter they are @GREC2015, and on Facebook it’s GrampianREC.

Other activities taking place throughout the month will be information and awareness sessions with community groups, a survey to gain a better understanding of the true extent of hate crime and prejudice in Aberdeen, a training session for organisations to become hate crime reporting centres, and the launch of GREC’s Anne Frank Awards 2017-2018. If you want to get involved with any of these, please get in touch with GREC directly.

Sign Up For Neighbourhood Alerts

Police Scotland’s North East Division covers rural and urban areas in Moray, Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City.

Within the Division the community policing teams are supported by dedicated Crime Reduction Officers who assist them in their work to promote crime reduction and progress prevention opportunities which we see as key to reducing crime and antisocial behaviour in your area.

Whilst crime reduction advice is regularly provided to individuals who raise a specific query, an exciting new innovation called Neighbourhood Alert now affords Police Scotland the opportunity to send e-mail messages relating to local crime trends and containing crime prevention advice quickly and effectively to a wide audience, but which can be targeted to particular streets or communities if required.

Any individual can sign-up to receive these e-mail messages, either for themselves or their community group, and the sign-up process allows the recipient to specify the type of information that they are interested in and from what source. Neighbourhood Watch Scotland, who coordinate this resource, work with a range of partners in the public sector to provide information not only on crime but also on matters of community safety and resilience.

These messages are intended to inform the public and to keep them abreast of information which will assist them in keeping themselves, their families and their properties safe. For this reason, we will only send out messages if we feel it is important that the public receive the information and are then able to use it effectively in their daily lives.

Please take the opportunity to sign-up for Neighbourhood Alert e-mail messages and encourage your family, friends and neighbours to do the same. Whilst the number of subscribers is constantly growing, the more people who sign-up to receive these alerts, which we always try to send timeously, the more effective these messages will become as they allow communities to become better informed and make better decisions.

There is no requirement to join or set up a Neighbourhood Watch, simply follow the link below to the registration instructions. By signing up you control your personal information, contact details and also decide what information providers who want to receive Alerts from.

https://member-registration.neighbourhoodalert.co.uk/91/Join

Recognition For A Lovely Lady

pearlAberdeen’s favourite lollipop lady has been presented with her British Empire Medal by Lord Lieutenant George Adam on behalf of HM the Queen at a special reception in the Town House.

Pearl Rendall’s award was originally announced in the Queen’s 90th Birthday honours list in June for services to education. She has been crossing kids at Lewis Road on their way to Kingsford School for over 36 years.

Pearl knows all the kids by name and teaches them how to cross safely from and early age. The kids all love Pearl as she does them, but she stands no nonsense either and they soon realise the importance of staying safe.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “I’ve known Pearl for a number of years. For Pearl it’s not just a job, she puts her heart and soul into it. As well as cheering up the parents with her warm words and cheery smile, she also looks out for the older folk in our community too”.

“This is what the honours system should be about, recognising the contribution of ordinary folk to their local communities. Well done Pearl, nobody deserves this more than you”.

Communities, Housing & Infrastructure Meeting 1st November 2016

Town HouseThis committee has overall responsibility for Trading Standards, Bon Accord Care, Aberdeen Crematorium, Aberdeen Heat & Power, council housing, community centres, waste collections, environmental services, roads, pavements, street lighting and a whole lot more.

They also receive reports from the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service and Police Scotland and question senior officers. Their next meeting takes place on Tuesday 1st November at 14.00 at the Town House and is open to the public.

Notable items for discussion are a request for taxis to be permitted to use bus gates, a Police Scotland report on serious and organised crime, proposed changes to housing allocation policy, various road traffic orders (new and in progress), AWPR side road speed limits and this year’s winter maintenance programme.

This meeting is open to the public and the full agenda can be found here.

Broad Street Safety Concerns Highlighted

Artist-impression-of-Marischal-SDetailed plans for a rejuvenated Broad Street were today approved unanimously by Aberdeen City Council. The plans offer an attractive streetscape designed to be more pedestrian friendly, with innovative lighting, a water feature and an area of greenery.

Whilst backing the plans, Liberal Democrat leader, Ian Yuill, expressed concerns over the decision to remove traffic lights from the junction of Upper Kirkgate, Gallowgate and Broad Street. However, it was agreed that the appropriate infrastructure to support traffic lights would be present, should this later be considered necessary.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “With a bus a minute running through Broad Street, my concerns about pedestrian safety remain. I can only hope that these fears are never realised”.

“With regard to the design itself, it’s surprising appealing and will add much value to the area, even if we are faced by the monstrosity of Marischal Square across the road!”

Missed Opportunity for Broad Street

Artist-impression-of-Marischal-SAberdeen City Council has taken the decision to remove cars from Broad Street, whilst maintaining it as a through route for buses.

A Liberal Democrat amendment to fully pedestrianise the area was defeated by Labour, SNP, Conservative and Independent councillors. Instead they favoured “part-pedestrianisation”, with buses sharing the space with pedestrians.

Liberal Democrats went to lengths to point out that there is no such thing as “part-pedestrianisation”, it’s either pedestrianised or it’s not!

Kingswells, Sheddocksley, Summerhill councillor Steve Delaney said he would prefer to see the buses off Broad Street to make best use of the open space.

He also raised safety concerns about the use of shared surfaces, referring to the time when buses were permitted in the area of George Street in front of what’s now John Lewis. He spoke of pedestrians being lured into a false sense of security, only for a bus to come belting round the corner.

With regard to the public consultation exercise, Steve said, “I was concerned to see the consultation merely asked people’s views on the pros and cons of the three options. It did not even ask people to express a preferences. I would have liked to have known what the public thought before taking this decision, but sadly that was a missed opportunity. If nothing else I felt it was disrespectful to those who attended the events”.

Pearl Wins National Award

IMG_0540Aberdeen’s favourite lollipop lady has done it again. Following on from winning Aberdeen City Council’s “People’s Champion” in 2013, Pearl has now won a top national award.

Pearl Rendall is known to many as Kingsford School’s lollipop lady. She’s been keeping our children, and their parents before them, safe for well over 30 years and yesterday she won the “School Crossing Patroller Of The Year” award for Scotland.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “Finally we see an ordinary hard working person being given the recognition she deserves for her hard work and community spirit. Personally I feel there’s far too little heed given to the dedication shown by ordinary folk who make a real difference in their communities”.

“I’ve known Pearl for a number of years and she crosses my son (above) every day on his way to school. She teaches road safety, awareness of danger, respect for others and so much more. She even cheers up my grumpy face on a Monday morning! This is someone who takes a genuine interest in the kids and their parents, not to mention the grandparents and other local folk too”.

“Well done Pearl, nobody deserves this more than you do”.

Policing Plan Lacks Scrutiny

PoliceScotland3-460x250Aberdeen City Council has approved the Aberdeen City Local Policing Plan 2014-2017. Following the centralisation of policing by the SNP Government in 2013, each local authority division is required to draw up a local policing plan setting out the priorities for that area over a four year period.

Liberal Democrat Community Safety spokesman Martin Greig said, “”The public need to know the direction that the force is moving in, not just this year but over the next few years. We cannot do our job of monitoring the police service without being able to question the
statistics robustly. In the next three years, the policing budget will be cut by £137 million. The ultimate aim is to save £1.1 billion. The Aberdeen Police Divison is the best in Scotland with an excellent tradition in looking after community needs. Aberdeen Police are a model that others try to copy. Groundbreaking operations such as Maple, Oak, Begonia and Trinity and Zenith are exceptional and splendid examples of good practice in fighting crime and protecting victims. I want the police team to have a fair share of public resources. Councillors should not be complacent about the cuts.”

“For the first time, the Scottish Parliamemt Audit Committee divided on the subject of policing because of the absence of reliable financial information on the cuts. MSPs were also worried about the lack of a method for monitoring the impact of the cuts in police performance. The SNP in the committee were opposed on the other side by Liberal Democrats, Labour and Conservatives. In Aberdeen we should work together to stand up for our local police service. The risks from centralisation remain unknown and we should do all we can to support our local police.”

Local councillor Steve Delaney also spoke of concerns surrounding the centralising agenda which he said was eroding local control and the reducing the prominence of local priorities, referring to the “Strathclydification” of services across Scotland.

He said, “The Strathclyde model of policing is no more relevant to the North East than the Highland model would be to Glasgow or Edinburgh. It’s a case of horses for courses. These so called local plans are not what they say on the tin, it’s one size fits all and that approach fails to address the differing local priorities we face throughout Scotland. A prime example of this was the withdrawal of road safety education which had been pioneered by the former Grampian Police, something I’m convinced has saved lives in the past”

Steve added, “I expressed particular concerns about the increased use of stop and search, especially where it involves young children, believing this tactic should only be used in cases where there is reasonable suspicion. I also referred to the increasing use of mounted police on our streets. Heavy handed tactics can indeed play a valid role in keeping us safe, but I do not believe them to be justified in routine circumstances, where most law abiding people would consider them to be both frightening and intimidatory”.

The Aberdeen Local Policing Plan 2014-2017 was passed by Labour, SNP, Conservative and Independent councillors with no account taken of the concerns highlighted by the Liberal Democrats.

Report Coming Back on A944 Bus Stops And Crossings

Bus Stop small Kingswells/Sheddocksley/Summerhill councillor Steve Delaney spoke at committee on 13th March 2013 on his motion for bus stops, lay-bys and pedestrian crossings on the A944 at the Five Mile Garage and Kingswells Church.

He said, “Committee members were very supportive of the reasoning behind this motion, both from a public transport and public safety point of view and I’d like to thank them for this. The parents of Ben Land who sadly lost his life crossing the A944 last summer have also expressed their support for this initiative and I am very grateful for this too.”

“It’s vital that we address the accessibility for all to public transport whilst retaining our primary focus on public safety on what is clearly a busy section of road”

The next stage in the process is a report back to committee on 3rd June 2014, which should come with a full report and a recommendation.

Delaney Calls For Bus Lay-bys & Crossings On A944

Bus Stop smallKingswells/Sheddocksley/Summerhill councillor Steve Delaney has been contacted by a number of residents regarding Stagecoach’s decision to cease picking up or dropping off passengers on the A944.

Residents are up in arms about a decision taken by Stagecoach to cease stopping to pick up or drop off passengers on the A944 between Hazlehead and Westhill other than at the Prime Four Business Park. This recently resulted in a couple in their eighties having to walk a couple of miles to get home after the bus driver refused to let them off the bus near their home.

Another incident involved a lady from Westhill who has serious health problems dropping her car off at the Five Mile Garage only to find she had no bus service to get back home and needless to say, was unable to walk the distance from the garage back home.

An issue also exists in respect of the bus stop opposite Kingswells Church which was removed on safety grounds as a result of the widening of the A944. This has meant passengers could catch the X17 into town but can’t easily get home as the next bus stop is past the roundabout at the Prime Four Business Park.

Whilst appreciating their concerns for the safety of passengers boarding and lighting from their buses, it is totally unacceptable to leave local people without access to bus services.
Steve said, “The only place Stagecoach are willing to stop between Hazlehead and Westhill is Prime Four in both directions and Kingswells Church eastwards.”

There used to be stops at the Five Mile Garage and on both sides of the road beside Kingswells Church. Steve is campaigning for bus stops with lay-bys and pedestrian crossings to be put in place at both locations to ensure safety and access to public transport.

He said, “The bus stop at the Church was removed on safety grounds following the widening of the A944 to accommodate Prime Four traffic. The developer should have been obligated to install a pedestrian crossing at this location to mitigate the effect of the road widening on local residents. Instead they funded crossings elsewhere which are of no practical use to anybody.”

Steve has lodged a Notice of Motion to the 13th March meeting of the Environment, Strategic Planning & Infrastructure Committee calling for bus stops with lay-bys and pedestrian crossings in the vicinity of the Five Mile Garage and Kingswells Church to address the loss of bus services in a manner which is safe to both passengers and drivers.

Police And Fire Control Rooms Axed

alison-mcinnes-msp-9As you may have seen in the press, plans have been approved to close fire and police control rooms and service centres across Scotland. All three of the facilities in Aberdeen will close, meaning that every 999 or 101 call will now be diverted to the Central Belt or Dundee.

This prompted demonstrations from devastated staff, anger at the Parliament, and caused many of my constituents to get in touch with me.

Hundreds of talented and dedicated staff will lose their jobs. They have played an integral role in saving the lives of many people. Their knowledge of our area, built up through decades’ worth of service and once valued and nurtured, will be lost.

This shows the uncompromising nature of the SNP’s obsession with centralisation. It removed any opportunity for local people to object, meaning the appeals of local communities fell on deaf ears. Local authorities, once integral to the decision-making process, tell me they found out about the plans on the news. Coupled with the fact that Police Scotland refused to hold a public consultation because it considered the issues too complicated for the public to come to an informed opinion on, this shows a worrying disregard for the views of local communities.

Local SNP representatives backed the Justice Secretary to the hilt when he established single police and fire services, blithely dismissing our warnings that it would lead to such closures. It is no surprise therefore that the sincerity of their apparent dismay at the decision to shut our control rooms is being questioned.

Alison McInnes OBE, MSP for North East Scotland

Council Budget 2014/15

BudgetAberdeen City Council held its annual Budget meeting on 6th February 2014. The Priority Based Budgeting introduced when the Liberal Democrats were running the city has led to increased stability and improved strategic planning of the city’s finances. In excess of 90% of the proposals were common to all parties with an element of expenditure available for allocation to specific priorities. It was for each grouping to prioritise how this amount was spent.

The Liberal Democrats, as part of their balanced budget proposals, urged additional investment in education and repairing Aberdeen’s crumbling roads and pavements.

Liberal Democrat proposals would have seen £300,000 of Common Good funds spent enhancing Hazlehead Park and the area around it during 2014/15. Kingswells/Sheddocksley/Summerhill councillor Steve Delaney said, “Hazlehead Park is in need of some serious investment and £300,000 could have done much to upgrade this much loved park. Had the Council supported our proposals this would have seen major revamps of the Queen Mother Rose Garden and the poor quality roads around the park”.

The Liberal Democrats also proposed investing £125,000 for replacement or refurbishment of our childrens’ play parks. Although some improvements have been made, investing an additional £125,000 in play parks would have made a real difference by helping to refurbish and improve play parks across Aberdeen.

Turning towards education, Steve said “We believe investing in our children’s education is vital so we proposed giving an extra £100,000 to schools to buy additional books and equipment. That would have made a real difference to every school in the city. Sadly Labour and their Conservative sidekicks rejected this extra investment in Aberdeen’s children’s future.”

The Liberal Democrats also proposed investing a home safety initiative to help address carbon monoxide poisoning, which is still, sadly, responsible for a number of deaths each year. Commenting on this initiative, Steve said, “Investing £50,000 in this would have allowed the council to work with the Fire and Rescue Service and provide thousands of homes across Aberdeen with Carbon Monoxide detectors. This relatively modest amount of money would have made people across Aberdeen feel safer and quite possibly have saved lives.”

The most significant proposal from the Liberal Democrat Group was to nearly double investment in roads and pavements during 2014/15. Currently Aberdeen City Council has a budget of £2.2 million per annum for this which is clearly insufficient. Had these proposals been accepted, this would have resulted in a total of almost £22 million over the next five years being spent on repairing roads and pavements in Aberdeen

Steve Delaney said “Too many of our city’s roads and pavements are crumbling. What the council must do is invest more in the permanent repair and resurfacing of roads and pavements to bring them back to an acceptable standard. In the long-run that will reduce the cost of jet-patching and other less permanent repairs.”

“Sadly Aberdeen’s Labour and Conservative councillors rejected our carefully costed proposal to invest nearly £22 million in road and pavement repairs over the next five years.”

The Liberal Democrats also proposed abolishing “on street” Sunday parking charges and ending both on and off street parking charges on other days at 6.30pm, rather than the current 8pm.

Steve said, “The Liberal Democrats believe ending on street parking charges on Sunday and making on and off street parking free after 6.30pm would help bring more people back into our city centre on Sundays and weekday evenings. The council should be encouraging people to come into the city centre and not making it more expensive for people.”

As part of their revenue and capital budget proposals the Liberal Democrats also proposed investing:

– £50,000 in installing additional bus shelters

– £50,000 to fund a flood guard grant scheme to help households threatened by flood

– £50,000 in small scale environmental initiatives, providing dog waste bins and warning signs

Kingswells/Sheddocksley/Summerhill councillor Steve Delaney said,”Despite the rejection of this by Labour and Conservative councillors today we will continue to campaign for greater investment in our children’s future, action to repair our crumbling roads and pavements and more effort to improve Aberdeen’s environment.”

Proposed Fire & Police Control Room Closures

alison-mcinnes-msp-9Planned police and fire closures threaten vital community links 

Following the centralisation of our police and fire services earlier this year, the new nationwide organisations have now set their sights on closing frontline services and eroding their relationship with the communities that they serve.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service are planning to close a number of facilities in the North East, most notably the state-of-the-art control room in Aberdeen.

Plans announced by Police Scotland recently could see 8 police stations in the North East close their doors to the public. Many more will slash their opening hours, with the public counters at stations across the region open for 500 hours a week less than at present. Lib Dems have also highlighted the fact that a question mark hangs over the future of police control rooms across the country.

SNP centralisation is leading to the asset-stripping of local services and, because of the way the reforms were pushed through Parliament, local people won’t even be consulted on the planned closures.

Our centralised services are turning their backs on our local communities. And the plans will lead to a loss of local knowledge. For example, the ability of staff to obtain vital infromation from 999 callers can be the difference between life and death. If a distressed caller says there is an incident at Strachan or Finzean will staff in the Central Belt recognise these places from the way they are pronounced

The Scottish Liberal Democrats are calling for full and formal public consultations into these short-sighted and damaging closure plans. Our local communities deserve no less.

Alison McInnes OBE, Liberal Democrat MSP for North East Scotland (more…)

Pearl Shines At Awards!

Aberdeen City Council CopyrightAberdeen City Council hosted its Star Awards on 2nd May 2013. The event was designed to recognise the excellence of its staff and presentations were made to winners in a number of categories. In particular the “People’s Champion” category invited nominations from members of the public and one of our own was amongst them.

Sheddocksley resident Pearl Rendall is known to us as Kingsford School’s lollipop lady. She has been a “weel kent face” to children (and their parents) in the area for over 30 years. She keeps the kids in order, promotes road safety and brightens up even the wildest and coldest days with her warm smile and friendly conversation.

Kingswells/Sheddocksley councillor Steve Delaney said, “I’m delighted Pearl has been chosen as our people’s champion. Pearl has been keeping our children and their parents safe for more than a generation, despite being badly injured carrying out her duties over 20 years ago. I’ve known her personally for a number of years and enjoy seeing her cheery face every day as she educates our children on road safety and keeps them out of harm’s way. This is a well deserved honour for a true people’s champion”.

Pearl was presented with her award at a ceremony at the Beach Ballroom. Steve added, “Pearl does a sterling job but is a very modest lady. Perhaps now she really knows how much she means to all the mums, dads and kids in our area. Nobody deserves this honour more”.

Mixed Feelings On New Anti-Social Behaviour Policy

anti-social_267x197
Aberdeen City Council has just adopted a revised policy for dealing with anti-social neighbours. Local councillor and Lib Dem Housing Spokesman, Steve Delaney, welcomed the updated policy which has been designed to tackle this blight on our communities. Steve was involved in the decision to extend the operational times of the anti-social behaviour unit during a previous Council term and both the policy and the unit itself have evolved in recent years to offer strong support to those experiencing such problems.

Steve said, “This latest revision sets out timescales and expected actions, gives a commitment for the Council to take firm action, seeks to ensure the Council’s actions are consistent, identifies key agencies for partnership working and considers the impact of anti-social behaviour on victims. In this respect it represents a major step forward but I do have some concerns”.

The Housing Scotland Act allows for tenants to be placed on a Scottish Short Secure Tenancy (6 month tenancy renewable for up to two years) following the granting of an ASBO, which allows for a faster eviction process to be used if the ASBO is breached. Aberdeen City Council does not routinely use this facility though it is acknowledged as an option. This was one of the concerns Steve raised at Committee as he felt it should be used in every case. He also proposed that where a tenant had been evicted for anti-social behaviour, the incoming tenant should be vetted to ensure that they did not have a pre-existing record of anti-social behaviour elsewhere. He felt that failure to do so could expose neighbours to a revolving door of anti-social neighbours.

Lib Dem colleague Jennifer Stewart also raised concerns that the policy was too prescriptive in specifying what did not constitute anti-social behaviour. The policy stated that everyday living noise such as people walking across a wooden floor, doors banging, people using washing machines, children bullying each other, revving engines etc; are not to be classed as anti-social behaviour. Steve and Jennifer both felt that such behaviour could become anti-social not as one offs, but where the behaviour was deliberate and sustained.

Steve said, “This is a good policy which could have been so much stronger if our concerns had been taken on board. I’m disappointed that others did not see the value in being tougher on anti-social tenants and in being less prescriptive on what type of behaviour the Council will not take action on”.

The Council’s revised Anti-Social Behaviour Policy is available online.

Delaney Calls For 40MPH Limit On A944

Kingswells/Sheddocksley Councillor Steve Delaney has today called for a 40mph speed limit on the A944 from its junction with the Lang Stracht to the city boundary with Aberdeenshire. This stretch of road has been notorious for accidents caused as a result of speeding. Despite the reduction in the speed limit from 60mph to 50mph a year or two ago, motorists continue to exceed the speed limit. Today’s Environment, Infrastructure & Planning Committee agreed to a report coming forward to consider this proposal.

Councillor Delaney welcomed the Committee’s support and said, “You just need to drive along this road at 50mph to observe the number of vehicles which overtake you, clearly putting themselves and others at risk of injury or worse. This is the only arterial road leading into Aberdeen where the speed limit exceeds 40mph and I truly believe we could save lives by reducing the speed limit and enforcing it with fixed speed cameras”.

Mr Delaney has been in discussion with NESCAMP for some time regarding this and is campaigning for fixed speed cameras on this route. He said, “There’s been a lot of good work done by enforcement teams from Aberdeen City Council and Grampian Police but they can’t be there all the time. Only a reduced speed limit and enforcement by way of permanent fixed speed cameras can prevent accidents and save lives”.

Beware Of Cold Callers

There have been reports of workmen cold calling and offering to clean or seal driveways. This has been in the Sheddocksley area but may spread elsewhere. Whilst this nothing new, this year the workmen are particularly persistent, often calling on the same address three or four times over a couple of days.

They tend to be dressed in reflective jackets and speak with an Irish accent. Residents have stated that a polite refusal is often insufficient with some workmen having to be told several times that their services were not required. In couple of instances a pickup type vehicle was being driven slowly up the street with the driver also wearing a reflective jacket and closely watching the activities of his colleagues.

Local Councillor Steve Delaney said, “I have received a report of an incident where one of these workmen became confrontational. I would suggest that residents do not engage the services of unknown workmen to carry out work for them regardless of price. Unless you use a reputable firm there is no guarantee of quality and there is no redress if things go wrong after the workmen have moved on. I have passed more detailed information to both Trading Standards and Grampian Police. My advice is to be wary about opening your door to workmen in reflective jackets over the next few weeks unless you are expecting them.”

Speeding Concerns On A944

One of the biggest concerns raised in Kingswells has been speeding along the length of the A944, with the section between Kingswells and Westhill being particularly bad. Kingswells/Sheddocksley councillor Steve Delaney has been campaigning for permanent speed cameras to be installed in the interests of road safety over the past few months.

Steve said, “The reduction of the speed limit to 50mph has certainly had an impact amongst law abiding drivers. Unfortunately it is being flouted on a regular basis by a significant number of motorists who appear to have little regard for their own safety or that of other road users”

Both Grampian Police and Aberdeen City Council have been carrying out enforcement action in the area over the past six months or so. This is helping reduce the number of people breaking the speed limit when action is taking place, but they can’t be there all the time and Steve believes the only solution is for permanent speed cameras to be installed.

Steve added, “I’ve seen the traffic data and speeding in not perception, it’s a fact. Given the accident history on this road I will continue to pursue this matter in order to improve safety and reduce accidents and fatalities.