Tayside’s new police commander has pledged to tackle the rise in violence, housebreaking and drug deaths in the city.
Chief Superintendent Andrew Todd said he believed “the scourge of the dealer” could be eradicated from Europe’s drug deaths capital by “working together”.
Ch Supt Todd said reducing deaths was the “number one priority” and that the response after a drug dealer’s arrest was as important as taking them off the street in the first place.
“You cannot arrest your way out of this problem, it’s simply not going to happen,” he said.
“That said, enforcement is a key element of this. If we create a difficult environment for dealers to operate in – if we take the benefits of their criminality away from them – that makes it more difficult and allows other partners in education, health and social work to fill some of that space.
“No one agency can hope to deal with all that on its own. You arrest someone and someone else comes back in.
“But if we arrest someone and then claim that space to allow another agency to come in, we can say to people: ‘We’ve bought you that respite from the scourge of the dealer’. Then we need to work with others to try to help them to take that opportunity.”
Another priority is bringing down the number of housebreakings, said Ch Supt Todd.
“Unfortunately there has been a rise and that’s given us a real cause for concern,” he added.
“We’ve got a lot of focus on that just now and looking for the perpetrators to try to bring that back to where we normally have it, which is actually quite low for a city our size. Any increase is unacceptable – these are people’s homes.”
Asked if the drug problem had led to the increase in housebreakings, Ch Supt Todd said: “There is a wide range of reasons for it. I’m not going to excuse the behaviour of the suspects but if there was a silver bullet we’d have found it.”
Ch Supt Todd also reassured the public that although there had been an increase in the number of violent crimes, these were not “random acts” on people in the street.
“A lot of it is people who know each other and they seem to believe that this is the way to resolve their issues,” he said.
“We end up arresting and charging a huge number of people for committing crimes of violence which frankly are entirely unnecessary. People need to stop and think before they raise their fists.
“But I would reassure the public it’s not about random acts of violence on the street. Analysis tells us it’s people who know each other. But violence is too high in the city and that’s another area we’re focusing on.”