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New project aims to cut crime in Inverness

By Andrew Dixon

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Burnett Road Police Station.
Burnett Road Police Station.

A PROJECT to help reduce crime in Inverness has secured funding.

Three new jobs will be created at Burnett Road police station in Inverness.

They will aim to support people brought into custody in a bid to help them stop committing crimes.

The National Lottery Community Fund has provided the final amount of funding after the project had already won backing from the Robertson Trust, Community Justice Partnership and Police Scotland.

The jobs are for the charity Highland Third Sector Interface, which is working on the project alongside Police Scotland and the Highland Community Justice Partnership.

Mhairi Wylie, chief officer of Highland Third Sector Interface, said: “The link worker approach is increasingly used within a GP setting and nationally there has been a lot of interest in expanding the availability of link workers.

"In that setting they generally work with someone on an individual basis, helping them to identify what they feel they would like to change or address within their personal lives and then supporting them into accessing activities and services which will help that person to achieve their goals.

“Adapting that approach to see if we can use the same concept to support people who come into custody, but will be going back into the community, to make changes which will improve their lives and hopefully reduce their chances of coming into custody again is in essence what the project is trying to do.

“The key to this is understanding and appreciating the incredible work undertaken within our communities by charities and voluntary organisations and that when this is available and accessed it can make incredible differences to people’s lives.

"This isn’t an easy time for charities and community groups, which makes the support we have received even more outstanding, and part of the project will be about recording and providing supporting evidence of how impactful their work is and where we can support those services to continue.”

Superintendent Ross McKillop said: “We have recognised for a long time that there is a gap in service for individuals coming into police custody, who may benefit from additional support to cope with a wide range of issues ranging from addictions, debt, health, relationships and emotional distress.

"It is my belief that this project will have far reaching benefits for those who need the required support and is a huge positive for the wider Highland area.”

Recruitment for the new team will start this week and the project will launch in the new year and run for three years.

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