AN official report has outlined significant decreases in local policing confidence around Tayside since the formation of Police Scotland.
In particular, the ability of officers to respond quickly, deal with incidents, investigate incidents and solve crimes have all been called into question by the declining confidence figures.
Between the end of 2012/13 and 2014/15, the percentage of respondents who said the police were doing a “good” or “excellent” job in Tayside fell from 67% to 61%.
In fact, in every category, confidence in the police across the region has fallen since April 2013.
The break-up of legacy forces and the formation of a centralised Police Scotland began in April 2013, but the document, released by the Scottish Government, does not address any links between the event and the figures.
Police Scotland did say, however, the figures follow on from a “significant reform” of their service.
A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “These figures from 2014/15 are set against a backdrop of significant reform for policing.
“Throughout this period we have continually reviewed our local delivery to ensure it constantly improves and continues to meet local needs in the most efficient, effective and transparent way possible.
“Whilst confidence remains high, these drops reinforce the commitment Police Scotland has to serving local communities by identifying local needs and, where appropriate, working with partners to address those concerns.”
There was a further 8% drop in confidence of Tayside Division to deal with incidents “as they occur” which dropped to a level of 67%.
Police responding quickly to calls and information, investigating live incidents and solving crimes, all fell by 7% to 65%, 73% and 64% respectively.
Meanwhile, just 63% of the Tayside public feel confident in local police catching criminals, decreasing from 67% in 2012/13.
When it comes to police preventing crime, the public’s confidence fell 3% to 59% in 2014/15.
Ron Neave, the chairman of Fintry Community Council, said: “A lot of people across the North East have noticed that there is a lack of police out walking the streets.
“There is also the case that the local police station at Longhaugh is effectively closed now. I think the issue is people do not regularly see police in their community.”
Duncan McCabe, the chairman of the Stobswell Forum, said: “From the perception of the public at the time, there was a big shift in the mood when the police became a centralised force.
“The loss of contact within communities had such a negative impact on how people felt about the police — it will take a lot for the new force to build that confidence back up.”
Police Scotland said it was looking at ways of restoring confidence in the public, adding: “Tayside Division has three local policing plans, one for each local authority, which outlines the key local priorities for that specific area of Tayside and we regularly report on progress against these plans to the relevant local authority.
“As we move into 2016/17, Police Scotland will shortly release the results of our community survey which will provide a far more detailed and up-to-date understanding of what is important to communities.
“We will use this to help inform regular reviews of priorities and refresh our plans, partnership and outcomes where necessary.”