New police chief joins Helensburgh
A NEW area commander is bringing his "robust" policing style to Helensburgh - and warns "if you commit crime and I catch you, you are going to court".
Tough talking Chief Inspector Gary Stitt is an additional resource to the town's police station - following a shake up which sees Helensburgh now falling under Strathclyde Police LB sub-division.
As well as being within 'L Division', the town is now within 'LB Sub Division' which covers south Argyll, and includes Dunoon, Rothesay and Bute.
Chief Inspector Stitt said: "There has been a restructure in line with the local authority boundaries so it's been brought together under one area commander.
"Previously, the area commander was based in Clydebank but now I will be based in both Helensburgh and Dunoon, with three days in one town and two in the other.
"It will not have any effect on the way that we police in Helensburgh, the public will not see any difference. It is simply an administrative process.
"However, from my point of view, I will now have the opportunity to be in the area a lot more than the previous area commander was able to be and that can only be positive for the town."
Mr Stitt, who has 19 years of policing experience, will work closely with the area inspector to set priorities and utilise resources effectively across Helensburgh and Lomond.
He warned offenders that he is bringing a hard policing style with him in a bid to show criminals there is no hiding place from the hands of the law.
He said: "It is my intention to be very pro-active in my approach. I have an extensive background in CID and pro-active policing. I am not soft touch and anybody who carries out crime in this area will be dealt with appropriately.
"I have a very robust policing style and anybody committing crimes can fully expect to be placed in front of the court at the earliest opportunity.
"From my point of view, if you commit crime and I catch you, you're going to court. It's as simple as that.
"It will be my policing style I will be bringing to the area. I will be targeting both force and Divisional priorities, however by bringing my own personal style to the policing of the area I hope to build and improve on results previously achieved."
Mr Stitt has previously policed in the Helensburgh area and said he knows the area and its problems well. Despite the town having a generally low level of crime in comparison to bigger towns, he said rural areas often pose different types of problems.
He explained: "The priorities we are looking at include violence, serious organised crime and anti-social behaviour.
"Crime is generally low in Helensburgh, however, we cannot be complacent.
"Rural areas come with different problems, different issues. The volume of crime isn't as great but it gives us different types of crime, for example, we undoubtedly have travelling criminals passing through the town and tourism also brings its own issues.
"Residents can expect to see me out and about, assisting police officers during incidents and communicating with the public."
He also added that Scotland's single police force, which will take effect from April next year, will not have any adverse effect on policing in the Helensburgh and Lomond area.
Scotland's eight police forces are to be merged into a single, national service, under cost-cutting plans passed by parliament.
He said: "There will still be a need for an area commander for south Argyll.
"The decisions have not been made but we are very keen to emphasise that when the single force comes in, it will not have any effect on policing in individual areas. It is a process to basically streamline what we do."
This article appeared in Helensburgh Advertiser 16 Aug 12