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Police / Five pupils charged in connection with Brae school vandalism

Local police chief also answers questions on tasers and roll out of mobile devices

FIVE young people have been charged in connection with a recent spate of vandalism at Brae High School.

Shetland’s chief inspector Lindsay Tulloch. Photo: Shetland News

Police chief inspector Lindsay Tulloch gave the update at Tuesday’s meeting of Shetland’s community safety and resilience board, where he confirmed the five people were pupils at the school.

Tulloch said six cases of vandalism at the school had been reported in total, and added that he hoped the charges would bring an end to the trend.

The number of people detected for speeding in Shetland between April and June, meanwhile, was more than double the amount in the same period last year.

A report presented to the board showed that 51 people were detected for speeding, while the same figure for 2018/19 was 20.

The increase has been linked to increased proactivity in addition to police targeting areas identified to officers by community councils and the public.

The current figure for the financial year to date is 65.

There has been a spike in the number of vandalism incidents in Shetland, with a current year-to-date total of 64 – a “significant increase” on the 42 at the same point last year, Tulloch said.

The number of thefts by shoplifting in April to June was 20 – an increase of 15 from the same period last year.

The police report said that the force is providing “ongoing liaison and support” to retailers who have been targeted, with business owners subsequently having an increased awareness of shoplifting and are more confident to report incidents.

Officers have also carried out 34 per cent more checks of licensed premises, which they believe correlates with a reduction in violence.

The number of checks in April to June amounted to 639.

South mainland councillor Allison Duncan, meanwhile, questioned whether overall reduced police budgets in Scotland could have an effect on local services.

Tulloch said he had received assurances from Scotland’s chief constable that there would be no cuts in staff numbers locally.

“I have no fear that the number of police officers in Shetland will reduce in any form,” he stressed.

The police chief also received a question from Duncan about the use of tasers, which were introduced last year.

Tulloch defended their use and said they allow staff to deescalate situations where there is a risk of injury.

“I think it’s been a very positive move in relation to officer safety,” he said.

“It’s kept people safe.”

Tulloch also spoke about the introduction of mobile devices for police officers across the Highlands and Islands to allow them to remotely access systems for administrative duties.

It is hoped that the system will allow officers to log details of crimes and file paperwork remotely instead of having to travel back to an office.

Tulloch said it should be rolled out in Shetland by the end of the year, with training due to take place soon.

Cooper questioned how the mobile coverage in Shetland could affect the devices, citing the Kames as a place where signal would be patchy.

“To what extent are you confident we have reasonable coverage in Shetland?” he asked.

Tulloch said he was confident there would be no major issues with reception, although he acknowledged there will be some spots with no signal.

Driving a mile to get reception instead of heading back to the office would be a benefit, he claimed.

“We really do welcome it,” Tulloch said. “It will be a fantastic leap forward for us.”