New Tayside police chief has had a ‘baptism of fire’ – but insists there’s more work to be done

Temporary Chief Inspector Nicola Russell.

Dundee’s new area commander said she has had a “baptism of fire” in her first few months in the job.

Temporary Chief Inspector Nicola Russell made the comments in an interview with the Tele in which she answered questions on issues from drug abuse to armed cops.

And she spoke of her personal relief that the summer’s concerts in Slessor Gardens went off without a hitch.

Chf Insp Russell also spoke of her determination to tackle violent crime in Dundee and of her belief the new community policing teams are making a difference.

Temporary Chief Inspector Nicola Russell shared her thoughts on the city with Tele reporter Lindsey Hamilton.

She said: “There’s little doubt that I have had a baptism of fire since I came into the post.

“There have undoubtedly been several significant events in Dundee during that time.

“We have had significant crime in Dundee since I came here but I am confident that we have responded effectively and appropriately.”

Chf Insp Russell admitted that an increase of 25% in sex crimes reported in Dundee was a cause for concern.

She said: “People have mobile phones and some do indulge in this type of crime. But we are working hard to get the message out that this isn’t acceptable.

“We are doing a lot of work with schools and other educational establishments to prevent online sex crime taking place and also to encourage people to report this type of crime to us.”

The area commander said that a lot of work was being done to address an increase in violent crime in Dundee with police officers being more “visible, approachable and accessible”.

Temporary Chief Inspector Nicola Russell shared her thoughts on the city with Tele reporter Lindsey Hamilton.

She said: “Our community sergeants are leading this and we would encourage people to continue to report any concerns to them.”

When it comes to the city’s drugs issues Chf Insp Russell, said she was carefully watching initiatives which are taking place in other cities, including the introduction of shooting galleries.

“It’s early days but at this stage there’s nothing I would rule in or out,” she said.

“We undoubtedly have a drug abuse problem here in Dundee and we are continuing to focus on prevention and education.

“However, we are here to enforce the law and we will do so.

“There is no acceptable level of drug taking, selling or abuse and we will uphold the law through the court process. I’m not happy with the levels of drug abuse in Dundee — I’d again encourage people to report their concerns to us.”

Chf Insp Russell also said that while she doesn’t want to see armed police become a daily fixture on our city streets, she wanted to reassure people that armed officers were available at any time should they be required.

She said: “There was obviously an armed police presence at the Little Mix and Olly Murs concerts — both of which were just after the Manchester tragedy.

“People told us they were happy to know that we were being very careful in the wake of the Manchester situation.

“Personally, I did find the lead up to the concerts daunting — and it was a huge relief when they both went ahead without a hitch.

“We definitely learned a lot that we can take forward into future events of this type.”