Like many of the city’s key services, Police Scotland has continued to operate as normal during these unprecedented times.
“Folk’s lives haven’t stopped,” Chief Inspector David McIntosh, area commander for Dundee, advises.
The straight-talking commander admitted 2020 had been challenging for both officers and those living in the City of Discovery.
Like many he kept an eye on the First Minister’s briefings before, ensuring Police Scotland continued to “adapt” with ongoing changes during the pandemic.
However, he revealed the relationship between the public and the police force became “stronger” during a year blighted by Covid-19.
The city’s law enforcement has tackled many old and new problems throughout the course of the year – including a rise in fraudulent crime, up as much as 23% year-on-year.
Another figure which continues to rise is the local lives lost to the drug pandemic as Police Scotland continue to carry out enforcements across the city.
It was revealed this month that there were a further 72 deaths related to drugs in 2019 according to National Records Scotland (NRS).
The Chief Inspector described the latest death toll figures as “tragic” before advising police officers would continue to “relentlessly pursue” those responsible for distributing narcotics in the city.
He added: “The figures you have alluded to are tragic, these are folk’s relations that have lost their lives to drugs.
“There is significant ongoing work in Dundee in regards to the Drugs Commission, we will work with partners to provide support for drug users, it is very much a multi-agency approach.
“We will continue to relentlessly pursue individuals in the supply of drugs as a police force but its not something we are simply going to enforce our way out of.
‘Support individuals out of addiction’
“These type of figures will continue for a while until we get a firmer grip as a society to support individuals in and out of addiction.”
Local law enforcement have had to adapt to the way they approach drug raids during the pandemic with briefings being held remotely.
The challenges of Covid-19 have seen the police tackling a different type of night-time economy as local public houses and nightclubs have remained closed.
Despite the closure of large parts of the city’s nightlife, the Chief Inspector said they would still be doing safety work with local housing associations and private landlords.
It was revealed this month that the local law enforcement was forced to hand out 17 fines at a Scottish Cup Final soirée this month on Emmock Woods Drive after police were called.
He added: “We are trying to discourage any type of large gathering at the moment given the current legislation. We have tried to adopt a ‘four Es approach’ (Engage, Explain, Encourage, Enforcement).
“If someone is blatantly breaching the rules by having a massive party we will carry out enforcement.”
Despite many remaining at home, there was still an important message to tackle drink and drug driving over the festive period and beyond.
He added: “Looking at figures around this time last year the numbers are up considerably year on year and I know that may take some people by surprise given the year we’ve had.”
Catastrophic consequences of driving under the influence
Despite the roads being quieter in relation to any normal year road traffic policing has been able to identify more drink and drug drivers.
He added: “Officers have still been out on routine and patrolling the roads during the lockdown period.
“Although there may be less traffic as a result of the pandemic it has been easier for us to pinpoint criminality and there has been a considerable increase of drink and drug driving this year.
“There is a reminder for folks here that although they won’t be in the pubs, clubs and party nights there will still be people consuming alcohol and drugs within the house.
“People still need to be aware they could be over the limit the next morning, please don’t increase the risk by going out under the influence the next morning.
“It is one of the key contributory factors to fatal road accidents, drink and drugs, at this time of year, could have catastrophic consequences.”
‘A challenging year for everyone’
As we look ahead to 2021 the Chief Inspector urged people to “mindful” of the ongoing public health messages relating to Covid-19.
He said: “It has been a challenging year for everyone. We will continue to be here for members of the public throughout the festive period both day and night.
“I would just urge people in Dundee to look after themselves over this period and please be mindful of the public messages in place.”