Polish residents have been race hate target

Chief Superintendent, Local Police Commander for the Scottish Borders Ivor Marshall
Chief Superintendent, Local Police Commander for the Scottish Borders Ivor Marshall

Race-related hate crime in the Borders over a three-month period from July to September this year was largely targeted at white Europeans.

Councillors at tomorrow’s quarterly meeting of the Scottish Borders Police, Fire & Rescue and Safer Communities Board will hear that of the 14 ‘white Europeans’ who were victims of race-related hate crime in the Borders between July and September, seven were of Polish origin.

“This continues to be a cause of concern and will be monitored in the coming months,” observed Chief Superintendent Ivor Marshall in his report to the meeting.

The divisional police commander for the Lothians and Borders goes on: “We will continue to increase confidence in reporting this type of crime with our minority groups throughout the Borders. Migrant worker engagement events are continuing.”

Reporting on the six months to September 30, Chief Supt Marshall says the number of hate crimes recorded was 47 – down from 53 in the corresponding period of 2015 – of which 31 were race-related.

The number of offences relating to homophobia was down from nine to five, while offences relating to disability were up from four to six.

He reveals that over the same six-month period there was a 3.9% rise in the number of common assaults in the Borders, with 395 offences reported, compared to 380 during the same period last year

Chief Supt Marshall says the increase can be “partly attributed to incidents in the town centres of the major towns”.

“Analysis of these types of incidents has been undertaken, and focused patrols and work with licensees continues to be undertaken, and we are targeting the deployment of officers and specialist resources to any identified problem area,” he states.

“However, there is no pattern to these offences regarding culprits, locations or modus operandi, with a percentage of the recent assaults also being committed in private dwelling houses.

“The monitoring of bail conditions of known offenders is being carried out, and proactive bail checks of perpetrators conducted to ensure compliance.”

The board will hear of a small increase in the number of anti-social behaviour incidents – up by 28 (1.1%) to 2,647 – reported over the six months.

CS Marshall will also report that his officers carried out 166 stop-and-searches for drugs, of which 63 (38%) proved positive.

“This is a very high level of success,” he states.

However, he also reveals a 13.5% decrease in the number of people detected for the supply of drugs – from 37 to 32.

Police Scotland has just released its local priorities – anti-social behaviour and disorder; house breaking; drug dealing and misuse; violent crime; and child abuse.

Assistant Chief Constable Andy Cowie said: “Almost 16,000 people have so far completed the survey, which is available online and only takes a few minutes to complete.

“It’s particularly pleasing that of those who have taken part to date, more than 2,200 are between the ages of 16 and 24.