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Caithness police operation draws praise from local councillors


By David G Scott

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A special operation carried out by police in Caithness has netted large quantities of "illegal substances" and led to numerous violent criminals being arrested including one caught in possession of a sword.

Highland Councillors in Wick and Thurso praised Police Scotland for tackling a variety of local crimes during Operation Ruling, which launched on December 4 to address a number of issues in the county – especially activities associated with illicit drug use and violent crime.

Wick and east Caithness councillor Nicola Sinclair said: “Operation Ruling has been important in showing greater visibility of the police and underlining that they are there to help us.

"The results from the operation have been disturbing – ranging from seizure of drugs and weapons, violent attacks and driving under the influence – but with more presence in the county and more partnership working between police, council, NHS and others, I’m hopeful we can make progress towards a safer community.”

Since the beginning of the operation 16 people have been charged under the Misuse of Drugs Act following extensive enforcement activity led by local officers at addresses across Caithness.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: "This activity has resulted in large quantities of illegal substances being seized, including; over one-and-a-half kilos of cannabis, half-a-kilo of a white powder that is awaiting analysis, personal quantities of cocaine, LSD and heroin."

Police go in heavy at a raid on a suspected drug dealer's house in Thurso.
Police go in heavy at a raid on a suspected drug dealer's house in Thurso.

In addition, non-prescribed medication including Gabapentin and Oxycodone has also been recovered.

Operation Ruling also focussed on tackling violent crime in Caithness. Over the weekend of December 5 and 6, a man was arrested for threatening behaviour whilst in possession of a sword while, a woman was arrested following a serious assault where a knife was involved.

Since the launch of Operation Ruling, four other assaults have also been detected, with offenders reported to the Procurator Fiscal.

Road safety was also deemed to be of vital importance and officers monitored the roads network around Caithness. As a result, nine people were reported for drink-driving and a further six were reported for drug-driving. A further 31 people were also reported for various other motoring offences including driving with no insurance and speeding.

To assist in improving visibility and engagement, mobile police surgeries also took place in Lybster, Wick and Thurso. A police spokesperson said: "During these sessions, we distributed hundreds of leaflets to attendees confirming what has been done to address their policing priorities and how to contact local police."

Highland Councillors in Wick and Thurso praised Police Scotland for tackling a variety of local crimes during Operation Ruling.
Highland Councillors in Wick and Thurso praised Police Scotland for tackling a variety of local crimes during Operation Ruling.

Inspector Alasdair Goskirk, local community inspector for Caithness, said: “Since we launched Operation Ruling, I have been really pleased with how it has been received. Not only by the considerable efforts of our own local officers, who continue to work tirelessly to improve the quality of life for our communities, but also from our colleagues across Highlands and Islands Division and other national departments."

“I want to make it clear that the welfare and wellbeing of our communities in Caithness matters to not only the division, but to all of Police Scotland. We are here for you at all times and if you have information relating to ongoing criminal activity, or if you want to make us aware of other areas requiring a police response, then please contact us through whichever channel works best for you."

Councillor Sinclair added: “This has been one of the toughest years in memory for Caithness but one of the positive things to come from that is the way in which the community, council, NHS and all our emergency services have worked together to protect and support people.

Councillor Nicola Sinclair said local police 'professionally and sensitively handled some really upsetting incidents'. Picture: DGS
Councillor Nicola Sinclair said local police 'professionally and sensitively handled some really upsetting incidents'. Picture: DGS

“Police Scotland have kept councillors regularly updated on their operations and we have a strong working relationship. I’d particularly take my hat off to the local team, who have professionally and sensitively handled some really upsetting incidents."

Thurso and Northwest Caithness councillor Matthew Reiss added: "It has been really encouraging to see how this initiative has responded to some serious and concerning issues in the county. Various partner agencies and different departments of Highland Council have combined very well to send a clear message to the minority who those who commit offences in our towns and villages, that crime does not pay.

“Whether you're involved in violence, dealing drugs or carrying out antisocial behaviour – which blights ordinary folks’ lives – we have collectively made it apparent that your actions won’t be tolerated.

“Drink driving and road safety are also of great concern to communities in Caithness and this operation has seen continuous work to deter driving offences. The reduction in drink driving over the years tells me we should never give up on this vital work and continue to warn our young people of the stark dangers of drugs."

The public can report crime by dialling 101 or by emailing CaithnessCPT@scotland.pnn.police.uk

Alternatively, you can make an anonymous report to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111

Drugs seized and arrests made after major police crackdown in Caithness


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