Local police report for December

Police Scotland’s report for December in Kincardine and Mearns was issued today.

Antisocial behaviour, Violence and Disorder:

There has been a decrease in the number of antisocial behaviour calls, with 49 incidents reported. Fifteen were related to youth annoyance, predominantly Covid compliance and generally in relation to group size.

The other calls related to low level noise related breaches of the peace and there was also a vandalism to the Edzell football pitches goal posts.

There were six assault crime files, which is a decrease on the previous month. Four are detected and the remaining two have a positive line of enquiry.

Acquisitive Crime:

There have been two thefts; one has been detected and the other is still being enquired into.

There has been one reported housebreaking and enquiries continue.

Road Safety & road crime:

There has been one report submitted for drug/drink drivers.

There have been no reported incidents of dangerous or careless driving.

Covid-19:

Police Scotland continues to use the 4E’s; Engage, Educate, Encourage and finally Enforce. This policy has helped to standardise the approach to difficult situations raised by the pandemic. The recent implementation of Tier 4 restrictions has returned the area, and Scotland, to a heightened vigilance. It is asked that everyone considers their personal accountability, when associating with others and remember the FACTS approach.

F (ace coverings)
A (void Crowds)
C (lean hands regularly)
T (wo Metre distancing)
S (elf Isolate and book a test if symptomatic)

It is strongly urged that should anyone become aware of any gatherings taking place within the K&M area that contravene the guidelines, then a call is immediately made to the Police. Police Scotland remain committed to attending every Covid related call and will treat persons found breaching these safety measures in a robust manner.

Drugs:

Two drug search warrants were executed, with positive interventions to the supply, possession and distribution of drugs within the area. Further warrants have been craved and will be actioned in January.

Contact Us:

You can communicate with officers using any of the following:
 101 – Non emergency;
 Email – StonehavenLowerDeesideCPT@Scotland.pnn.police.uk
 Twitter – @NorthEPolice
 Facebook – www.Facebook.com/NorthEastPoliceDivision
 Web – www.scotland.police.uk
 999 – Emergency;
 0800 555 111 – Crimestoppers.

More Shire teachers

Aberdeenshire’s number of teachers has risen to 2,720 from 2,593 in 2014, according to Scottish Government figures.

They also revealed there has been a decline in teacher numbers in other local authorities.

Our area has over the piece had a rising population, unlike other parts of the country.

Covid-19: Fewer trains

ScotRail is to further reduce services within weeks after the latest lockdown triggered another fall in passenger numbers – although some changes to operations could come as early as today.

The number of ScotRail trains running has already been reduced to 81% of normal. The rail operator was quoted in the Sunday papers saying passenger numbers had reduced from 15% to 10% of normal following the start of the new mainland Scotland lockdown on Tuesday.

Meanwhile Stagecoach has said it is not making any changes to bus services at the moment.

Covid-19: Update on council services

Some updates on the impact this lockdown is having on Aberdeenshire Council services:

EDUCATION


At the start of the week just over 3,000 school places had been requested by the parents of category 1 and 2 keyworker parents. In reality, so far around 2,000 attended school.

Work is under way to ensure appropriate provision is in place for young people who require school transport.

Young people attending school are asked not to leave at lunchtimes to purchase their lunch in town. The education service may look, where possible, to amalgamate provision into fewer settings, on a reactive basis taking into account the attendances. Home learning will begin from Monday and schools have begun communicating plans with parents. Some schools have already issued timetables to families.

More than 4,000 IT devices have been distributed to schools across Aberdeenshire as part of the Connecting Scotland Fund and also due to donations from the Aberdeenshire Educational Trust.

CHILD PROTECTION

Child protection is everyone’s responsibility particularly during a time when children and young people are unseen. If you are concerned or worried that a child or young person is at risk or being abused, call:
• 01467 537111 (Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm)
• 03456 081206 (weekday evenings, weekends and public holidays)
• In an emergency, call 999 for police assistance.

ROADS, WASTE AND LANDSCAPE SERVICES

Staff are focused on providing essential work activities i.e. burials, supporting waste collection, emergency road repairs (including road safety inspections), winter maintenance and other emergencies.

As weather conditions dictate, winter maintenance activities (e.g. gritting) will feature heavily for the coming weeks.

As well as the five critical activities, we have also identified a number of activities that are high priority to maintain, such as:
Recycling centres provision
Play park safety inspections
Lifebuoy safety inspections
Memorial inspections
Watercourse inspections.

LIVE LIFE ABERDEENSHIRE

Facilities remain closed and most services will continue to be suspended until at least 31 January.

Outdoor ski centres at Huntly and Alford, which had continued to operate over the festive period during Level 4 restrictions closed on 7 January.

Lets of community facilities and sports halls are suspended, other than where permitted by government guidance.

Click and Collect and home delivery library services will not be able to operate.

Active Schools programmes are also suspended.

HOUSING

The Housing Improvement Programme is suspended although limited external works not requiring access to homes may recommence.

Options and homelessness services continue although there may be some delays with some allocations and applications.

Only essential housing repairs and work in empty properties are taking place. The development of new build housing continues.

CUSTOMER SERVICES

All service points remain closed. All enquiries should be online or over the phone until further notice.

REGISTRARS

New restrictions on marriage ceremonies are being introduced – maximum number of people permitted to attend a ceremony is five (couple, witnesses, registrar, six if they have an interpreter).

Registration of Birth is deemed essential with the majority of the birth registration done by phone, and the last bit (the signature) captured in a short, distanced appointment.

Registration of Death continues by phone.

Fire hits Portlethen takeaway

The Star pizza kebab takeaway in the middle of Portlethen was hit by fire early this morning.

No-one was injured and the fire was extinguished without affecting neighbouring businesses.

The Press and Journal has more: https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/aberdeenshire/2796181/fire-crews-called-to-tackle-blaze-in-aberdeenshire-takeaway/

The business later put out the following statement: “We are extremely sorry to announce that we will be closed for the foreseeable future due to the fire. We hope to be back open as soon as possible. We are sorry for any inconvenience to our lovely customers and hope to be back serving you soon!”

Impact of lockdown on services

The council’s Live Life Aberdeenshire facilities remain closed and most services are suspended until at least 31 January.

All sports and leisure facilities and cultural venues across Aberdeenshire will remain closed until then.

Outdoor ski centres at Huntly and Alford, which had continued to operate over the festive period during Level 4 restrictions will close at the end of business today (7 January). Customers with bookings are being contacted directly regarding cancellations.

Lets of community facilities and sports halls will also be suspended, other than where permitted by government guidance.

Click and Collect and home delivery library services will not be able to operate for the time being.

Active Schools programmes are also suspended – contact your local Active Schools coordinator for further details.

Health walks from Live Life Aberdeenshire facilities and under the responsibility of Live Life Aberdeenshire will also cease to operate for the time being.

Payments already made by customers will be honoured when facilities begin operating again and affected fitness passes will be extended to reflect the unavailability of facilities.

Anyone who would like to request a refund should contact the customer helpline on 01467 532929 (8am till 8pm, Monday to Sunday). Alternatively, email active@aberdeenshire.gov.uk

While facilities are closed, you can still access online library services, fun activities and exercise at home videos, among many other resources, on the Live Life @ Home platform. See what’s available here: https://bit.ly/LLAhome

Live Life Well Aberdeenshire, an initiative offering information, activities and programmes aimed at supporting the health and well-being of people living across the area, continues to be available.

If you are inactive, living with a long-term condition, recovering from illness or injury or simply want to improve your health and wellbeing, Live Life Well Aberdeenshire can help.

Get support to help you start, or continue, on a journey towards improved health and wellbeing. If you prefer to self-manage, they offer advice, information, and opportunities to support you along the way. Find out more at: https://bit.ly/LLWShire

Advice from Trading Standards

Aberdeenshire Council’s Trading Standards service has issued its latest bulletin on local doorstep crime, scams and safety.

▪ Reports have been received of doorstep callers in the Kintore area offering roofing and gardening work.

Residents are reminded that they are under no obligation to engage with doorstep callers and if a ‘No Cold Calling’ sign is displayed at a property the caller is committing an offence if they ignore it. Concerns should be reported to Trading Standards or Police Scotland.

Doorstep callers must also adhere to social distancing rules and if work is conducted at your property these and hygiene measures must be followed.

If a doorstep caller is not adhering to these rules or does not have sufficient hygiene measures in place, then they should be reported to Trading Standards.

When reporting doorstep crime or concerns about doorstep callers, try to remember key details about the trader such as business names, addresses, names, age, accents, descriptions, vehicle type, registrations and signage. Keep all original paperwork, leaflets and brochures.

▪ Residents have reported receiving text and email messages purporting to be from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). The text/email advises that a recent payment has failed and to click on the web link in the message to make a new payment and avoid prosecution.

Our advice is never to click on links contained in unsolicited texts/emails as these will take you to fake websites where you will be prompted to enter personal and bank details that will later be used to obtain money from you.

Texts should be deleted/blocked and unfamiliar emails left unopened and sent to the ‘Junk/Spam’ folder.
folder.

▪ Aberdeenshire Trading Standards has received a number of reports that website www.thegreyladydeli.co.uk is using the geographical address of a business in Fraserburgh and redirecting customer calls to them.

The website has been identified as a scam website which offers ‘high demand’ goods that are difficult to obtain at this time of year. The goods are never delivered. The business in Fraserburgh has no links to this website and its details have been used without authorisation.

▪ Aberdeenshire Trading Standards ran weekly social media campaigns leading up to Christmas between 30 November and 18 December. The campaigns focused on scams, counterfeit goods, the illicit dog trade and product safety. Information and advice was posted along with examples, highlighting instances where residents have been directly affected by a scam or the purchase of counterfeit goods.

We post and share lots of information on our social media accounts and encourage you to follow us for the latest updates and alerts. Follow us at –https://www.facebook.com/TradingStandardsAberdeenshirehttps://twitter.com/AberdeenshireTS

▪ At this time of year, it’s not uncommon for families to buy a pet. If you are considering buying a puppy or kitten you should be aware that there are scams in circulation and unscrupulous dealers operating.

So –
– only buy from a licensed breeder.
– ask lots of questions about the breeder, the puppy and its parents.
– view the puppy at its home, with its mother and check the condition of both and their accommodation.- ensure you are provided with paperwork relating to breeding, vaccinations and microchipping and follow these up.
– treat the puppy’s back story with caution, especially if the story is a sad one.
– avoid purchasing a puppy advertised on social media or small ad sites as these are often used by unlicensed breeders.
– do a Google reverse image/search on any photos and phone numbers displayed in adverts/ websites to see if they have been used before.
– don’t pay with cash, but use a cheque, credit card or other traceable means.

Most illegally bred puppies are sold online through social media or small ad sites, and one in four of those pups bought online die before their fifth birthday while one in five get sick or die in the first year – https://www.buyapuppysafely.org/

If you have concerns that your puppy has originated from a puppy farm or are aware of someone who may be involved in an unlicensed puppy farm, contact Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 164 6000 or SSPCA 0300 099 9999.

Safety

▪ Social media platforms are increasingly being used to sell trademarked or counterfeit goods. While the prices advertised are attractive and seem like bargains many will not arrive and any that do will be of a much lower quality than the genuine article.

Counterfeit goods also pose a safety risk as they are unlikely to have went through the rigorous testing required by law. It is therefore not uncommon to hear of instances where consumers have received burns or eye damage from using counterfeit cosmetics, house fires or electric shock resulting from faulty counterfeit electrical goods and children choking on the small parts of counterfeit toys that have fallen apart.

Should something go wrong with your purchase or it is not delivered it is unlikely you will be able to obtain a refund.

Contacts

For urgent Trading Standards matters, contact Aberdeenshire Council’s Trading Standards at 01467 537222. For non-urgent enquiries, please contact Consumer Advice Scotland at https://www.consumeradvice.scot/ or on 0808 164 6000.

Contact Police Scotland on 999 if you need urgent assistance or 101 for non urgent matters.

For more information about scams please visit Friends Against Scams at https://www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/

Emergency bridge repairs

Owing to Network Rail works to carry out emergency repairs to a railway masonry wall, it is necessary in the interests of public safety to close the U61K road from the railway bridge to Mains of Findon, Portlethen.

Repairs began yesterday. No work will take place at the weekend and the road will reopen. However work will recommence on Monday 11 January closing the road for five further days.

Site notices indicate the temporary restriction to traffic and the alternative route via U61K Mains of Findon – A90 underpass – Cookston Road – Thistle Drive and vice versa.

Covid-19: Schooling gears up

Home learning will begin from Monday and Aberdeenshire schools will be communicating plans with parents. Some schools have already issued timetables to families.

The council has distributed more than 4,000 IT devices to schools across Aberdeenshire as part of the Connecting Scotland Fund and also thanks to donations from the Aberdeenshire Educational Trust.

Meanwhile more than 3000 school places have been requested by the parents of category 1 and 2 keyworker parents. This is greater than anticipated. However there will be some schools across Aberdeenshire which – at the moment – will have no children attending.

Helping hand for businesses

Since Level 4 restrictions came into force on 26 December, many more Aberdeenshire businesses have been required to close and are now therefore eligible for grant support under the Strategic Framework Business Fund (SFBF).

Aberdeenshire Council launched its application process for SFBF grants under Level 4 before Christmas and has had more than 350 applications and a large number of enquiries.

Officers expect the number of enquiries and applications to increase significantly following yesterday’s announcement by the First Minister and today’s announcement by the UK Chancellor.

For the existing SFBF scheme, grants are based on businesses’ rateable value and are payable every four weeks while restrictions are in place.

Eligible businesses with rateable values (RV) below £51,000 will receive £2,000 every four weeks, with grants of £3,000 every four weeks for eligible businesses with RV in excess of £51,000. First payments are due to be made on 25 January.

As yet, there have been no government announcements about changes to this grant scheme as a result of the tighter restrictions, with the exception of ski centres now being required to close and therefore becoming eligible for the grant.

There are still a number of business types that are not eligible (including boarding kennels / catteries, takeaways and children’s nurseries). In addition, council officers expect a number of businesses to close voluntarily due to the new lockdown but as things stand, they are not eligible for SFBF support.

The UK Government announced a range of other business grant schemes in December but details on these have not yet been finalised. Some will be administered by councils, including a new self-employed hardship fund and a Discretionary Fund, which will be targeted at businesses that have so far received no or limited grant support.

More information about these new schemes is expected in the coming weeks.