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In brief for 16 May 2011

Crime down

 SHETLAND has experienced a 14 per cent reduction in crime combined with a small increase in detection rates from 67 to 68.3 per cent, Northern Constabulary reported on Monday.

Across the region as a whole crime levels have fallen by 8.6 per cent, with overall detection rates standing at 67.9 per cent. There is a 96.9 per cent detection rate for serious crimes.

Orkney has seen a 17 per cent decrease in crime, with detection rates of nearly 70 per cent.

Thanking the public for their help, chief constable George Graham said: “These results show that excellent police work has continued to drive crime down and maintain the highest detection rates in the UK against a backdrop of an extremely challenging and uncertain financial climate. This is clearly one of the highest performing forces in the UK and my aim is to keep it that way.”

Faroe delegation

 FAROESE trade minister Johan Dahl leads a delegation to Shetland on Tuesday to further strengthen economic and political links between the island groups.

During the visit, which follows a Shetland Islands Council trip to Faroe in March, the five strong team will meet folk from the Total gas project, Viking Energy, Lerwick Port Authority and Tesco.

They will then travel by ferry to Aberdeen to attend the All Energy Expo, Europe’s largest renewable energy exhibition, where they will meet staff from HIE Shetland.

SIC economy committee chairman Alastair Cooper said: “Future co-operation, particularly in the fields of telecoms and energy, offers opportunities which can provide great benefits to both our communities. This is a tremendous chance to explore our future working together.”

NorthLink at Expo

FERRY operators are pushing to earn more money from freight business by attending the All Energy Expo in Aberdeen this week.

NorthLink is offering “bespoke freight solutions” to the renewables industry using its vessels Helliar and Hildasay, with a focus on the European Marine Energy centre, in Orkney.

Senior manager shore support services Eddie Barclay said: “We believe that with the recent addition of MV Helliar to our fleet we now offer an unrivalled freight service to and from the northern isles.

“Significantly, and in response to customer demand, it is now a daily service and feedback indicates that this has been much appreciated by new and old customers.”

Streamlining aquaculture

REPRESENTATIVES of five Scottish local authorities have met in Shetland to streamline the planning process for fish farms to make it easier for them to expand.

Councils from Shetland, Orkney, Western Isles, Argyll & Bute and Highland want to bring the offshore planning system in line with onshore developments, including online applications and a standardised application form for Scotland.

SIC head of planning Iain McDiarmid said: “The aquaculture industry makes a major contribution to the economy of Shetland and provides vital employment in rural and remote areas.

“By streamlining the planning process we hope to encourage further investment and create more local jobs.

“Shetland has long been recognised as a centre of expertise in aquaculture and we have led the way in granting permissions for aquaculture developments.

“We will continue to collaborate with the other four local authorities through annual meetings to further improve planning processes.”

Equitable Life

ISLES MP Alistair Carmichael is encouraging anyone affected by the collapse of life insurance company Equitable Life to contact him if they wish to discuss the latest announcement about the compensation scheme.

On Monday the Treasury said that compensation payments would not be taxed and would not affect eligibility for tax credits, and policyholders do not need to do anything to claim their payments.

The MP said the introduction of a fair, transparent and independent compensation scheme for Equitable Life policy holders was a key Liberal Democrat pledge before the general election last year.

“I know that many of people in the northern isles will take an interest in the announcement today. If any of those who were affected by the collapse of the company would like to discuss these proposals with me in greater detail then I would encourage them to get in touch,” he said.

Moving On survey

THE SUCCESSFUL Shetland charity Moving On, which has been shortlisted for Scottish Charity of the Year 2011, has launched an online survey to help it improve its service.

The Moving On Employment project was set up in 1997 at Lerwick’s Eric Gray Resource Centre to give adults a taste of work, but quickly progressed to provide a much wider service helping people with barriers to employment find a job or a training post.

The survey is being distributed to employers, volunteers and local partnership agencies and is accessible online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/MOEP.

Last year’s survey led to new developments, such as the transition support service for young people and funding for additional support workers.

 

 

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