Rural Watch set to combat countryside crime

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A new crime prevention scheme which has been developed for the Scottish countryside had its regional launch in Dalmally.

Rural Watch, which encourages people to report suspicious activity online, is being introduced in the Glenorchy and Innishail area, and is due to be rolled out to other parts of Argyll in the next few months.

The scheme, a joint initiative between Police Scotland and Neighbourhood Watch, was introduced at an open meeting at Dalmally Community Centre last month.

It gives residents a line of communication with the police for non-urgent matters, and allows police to alert members about crime in their area so that they can take precautions to prevent it.

Through the targeted positioning of weather-proof posters and window stickers, it also aims to send a message to potential criminals that, despite being rural, the area is patrolled and watched.

The meeting was hosted by Neighbourhood Watch’s community engagement officer Willie Clark, and PC Darren Miller, who is based in Dalmally and oversees the scheme in the Glenorchy area.

‘Rural Watch presents an opportunity for the police to interact with local community members in a proactive and inclusive way, and to ensure the safeguarding of our neighbours and our property,’ said PC Miller.

‘Community spirit is strong in the local area and I hope that the scheme will reinforce ties and promote a vigilance that will serve as a deterrent to would-be criminals.’

Glenorchy and Innishail is a large geographical area which includes farms and estates, landmarks such as Kilchurn castle, Ben Doran and Loch Awe, and villages and hamlets including Dalmally, Lochawe, Bridge of Orchy and Portsonachan.

John Kerr, secretary of Glenorchy and Innishail Community Council, said: ‘Our whole community welcomes this opportunity to become involved with a Rural Watch scheme. We all appreciate and support the excellent provision of blue-light emergency services in our local area.

‘Rural Watch allows local residents to interact with Police Scotland to increase security. Those who may be tempted to flout the law will become aware that they cannot behave in an antisocial or criminal manner here without suffering the consequences of their actions.’

Police officers in Appin and Ardchattan aim to introduce the scheme in their areas shortly, and it will start in Taynuilt, Dalavich and Kilchrenan later this year.

To register or to find out more, go to ruralwatchscotland.co.uk.