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WATCH: Police launch festive safety campaign Operation Respect in Inverness

By Annabelle Gauntlett

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Police Scotland are set to collaborate with other agencies this festive period with the aim of keeping those in Inverness safe.
Police Scotland are set to collaborate with other agencies this festive period with the aim of keeping those in Inverness safe.

Police have launched their long-standing Operation Respect initiative aimed at keeping Inverness a safe place to live, work and visit over the festive season.

Operation Respect sees agencies and local voluntary partners pool together their wide ranging and varied skills to tackle street disorder, antisocial behaviour, retail crime and other forms of criminality.

Crucially, it is also designed to provide assistance to vulnerable people – whether that is a result of mental health concerns, alcohol or substance abuse – and provide a safe environment and the provision of pastoral care to those who are in need.

All of the organisations involved will actively engage in proactive measures to ensure that the city is a safe place to be, whether you live and work in the city, a visiting group enjoying the hospitality, or simply a lone person walking home at night.

Although Operation Respect is a Police Scotland initiative led by Inverness Area Command, it is very much a partnership between organisations dedicated to providing expertise in multiple areas, contributing towards the wellbeing of those in the community.

Mikeysline is a part of this year's initiative, which aims to help those struggling with mental health.

Emily Stokes, CEO of Mikeysline, said: "Operation Respect is really about keeping people safe during the festive period and letting people know that there is support out there.

"For Mikeysline, it is key that everyone knows that our services are very much available. If things become difficult for some this time of year, or if they're anxious and things escalate with themselves or with their family and friends, then it's important to know we are here.

"It's been a tough few years for people with Covid and financially, so it's important for everyone to know that we are open and available."

The combined efforts of those involved have enabled them to provide trained first aid teams walking within the city centre to combined police, paramedic and mental health practitioners on mobile patrols and responding to those in crisis.

There is also immediate access to pastoral care and a heightened level of stewarding within the city.

Operation Respect starts tomorrow and runs every Friday and Saturday until December 30.

Scottish Ambulance Service.
Scottish Ambulance Service.

Inspector David McAlpine said: “We are once again preparing for a busy festive period. We are delighted to be working alongside partner agencies to keep people safe over the festive period in Inverness.

"This operation is a collaboration between many different agencies to try to cut down on any antisocial behaviour as with the festive period comes a lot of parties, so we see excessive drinking that can lead to disorder.

"With this initiative we can make sure that everyone has an enjoyable and safe experience during the festive period.

"The city centre is going to take a large park of the focus, but we will have cycle patrols in other areas such as Merkinch and Dalneigh to reassure people that police are in the area.

“We aim to ensure everyone has a very happy and safe Christmas and New Year.”

Participants in this year’s festive campaign are: Police Scotland, Highland Council, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Scottish Ambulance Service, NHS Highland, BID Inverness, Highland Third Sector Interface, Highland Drug & Alcohol Partnership, Street Pastors, Medical Emergency Response Team, Community Justice Partnership, Mikeysline, Trading Standards, and The Discovery College – Centered Scotland.

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