By Matt Coyle on STV News 27/07/2016
The threat of terrorism is the issue Scots are most concerned about, police have revealed.
A survey by Police Scotland of more than 10,000 people across the country found that the main national issue of concern is the threat of terrorism, followed by violent crime.
The revelation comes a month after it was announced the number of routinely armed officers working within Police Scotland would increase by a third.
The force, which had 275 officers attached to armed response vehicles (ARVs), announced in June that it plans to add a further 90 to that capability.
The plans were backed by Scottish justice secretary Michael Matheson, who said it was important to be “prepared for any eventuality” and police said the increase was in response to the latest assessments of the threat from terrorism.
Assistant chief constable Kate Thomson said: “I am delighted with the response we have received so far. It is only by having this direct feedback from communities that we are able to assess the aspirations of the communities we serve.
“Given recent international events, counter terrorism and national security understandably came out on top as a national priority.”
She added: “We are committed to protecting the communities of Scotland by mitigating this threat. We recently announced an increase of 124 armed officers, to ensure we have the capacity and capability across Scotland to respond to any emerging threat, and the use of our armed officers will be a critical factor in our response.
“This is complemented by work which aims to identify and prevent those vulnerable to supporting terrorism, from taking this path, ultimately working in partnership to achieve a safer Scotland.”
As well as giving their view on the national priorities, the public are also commenting on what should be a priority for their local areas.
There is some variation of local priorities across Police Scotland’s 13 divisions but there are recurring themes of anti-social behaviour, homes being broken into and drug dealing or misuse.
ACC Thomson said: “We appreciate the feedback provided, and as a result, now recognise some responses could have been enhanced by either a request for additional information, or a limit to the number of options which could be selected.
“These improvements to the survey have now been updated and will assist us to better understand the views and needs of our communities. This will in turn influence how we deliver excellence in service. We hope the results are clearly presented, however, would be grateful for any constructive suggestions for future change.”
The ongoing survey, which will report quarterly, replaces the annual survey and is hosted on the Police Scotland website.
The survey has now been live for three months and was completed by more than 10,000 people between April 7 until June 30 2016.