HELENSBURGH’S new police inspector says he’s looking forward to serving the area for the long term.

Allan Kirk, 47, took up his new role at the end of November, replacing Matthew Webb, who had only been in the post since August.

Insp Kirk joined the then Strathclyde Police in 1993, following in the footsteps of his father, and has spent most of his police career in and around Glasgow, but being familiar with the area, he put his name into the ring when the post became vacant.

He told the Advertiser he was attracted to the area by the rural environment, a welcome change from Glasgow, as well as the beauty of the area.

He said: “Helensburgh is a nice place to live and it is also a nice place to work. I am a keen cyclist, walker and open water swimmer so I have been in the area quite a bit and know it well.

“My previous role was with IT projects, and I was aware that vacancies were coming up, and I requested a transfer.

“I hope to be here for a number of years to give me a chance to understand the vast area and make a positive impact and build up relationships.”

Insp Kirk has already started to introduce himself locally by attending two community council meetings, and he plans to get out and about and meet more local groups in the coming months.

He said: “I have enjoyed being here and I have been in touch with the community councils and the policing teams to hear what people's priorities are, the current issues and the concerns of the community.

“There has been a lot of good partnership working with the police, organisations and the community before me and I am keen to build on that foundation and experience.

“I want to work with people to improve the service.”

Insp Kirk has identified road safety as an issue and plans to work with road safety teams to tackle the problem.

He also said that he plans to work alongside partner organisations like the NHS, Argyll and Bute Council, housing officers and the voluntary sector to support the vulnerable people in the area.

In his first few weeks in the job he has already had to deal with two incidents of wilful fire-raising on his patch – the first at the Cardross Inn on December 2, and the second at the Killin Cottage B&B on December 19, which destroyed both a business and a family home.

Speaking about the latter incident, he said: “I attended at the significant fire.

“It has had a big impact on a local family and thanks to the quick response of the emergency services no-one was hurt.

“All partners, the council, fire brigade and police are working to support the family and are continuing a detailed investigation into the circumstances.”

He said: “Helensburgh and Lomond is a safe place to live but we want people to make us aware of any issues they may have.”

Insp Kirk is keen to hear about any concerns members of the public may have and encouraged people to take part in the Your View Counts survey on the Police Scotland website (scotland.police.uk/yourviewcounts).