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Emergency services / ‘Intensive’ Tall Ships planning paid off, says police commander

Shetland area commander chief inspector Stuart Clemenson: 'We do everything we can to take as many drugs off the street as we can.' Photo: Shetland News

POLICING the Tall Ships event went “extremely well”, according area commander Stuart Clemenson.

He said the majority of people behaved well – although there were some “small isolated pockets of violence, disorder and antisocial behaviour” mainly relating to excessive alcohol consumption.

Around 10,000 people on average visited the Tall Ships in Lerwick every day, including the large, 5,500 capacity Holmsgarth site.

This included both local people and visitors, while bars were open at the sites throughout the day.

Speaking to Shetland News, Clemenson said “intensive planning” before the event ultimately paid off.

“The command was supported by officers from each geographical local policing divisions across Scotland as well as support from specialists in road policing, counter terrorism and border control,” he said.

“We dealt with a significant increase in call volume, enquiries from the public and self-generated work across the period of the event, however this was to be expected due to the increased volume of citizens who visited Lerwick from elsewhere across Scotland and the world, including our own community across Shetland.

“Crimes were kept to a minimum, public engagement and visibility was high and in general everyone was well behaved despite small isolated pockets of violence, disorder and antisocial behaviour, in particular cases of excessive alcohol being consumed pre, post and during the organised events.

“But again this was expected and managed accordingly in a balanced, fair and proportionate way.”

Clemenson said he had the role of the event policing lead and had the overall local command of the policing operation.

He added that the event was delivered with a policing a style in line with the organisation’s values of “integrity, fairness and respect, and the principles of “policing communities by consent’”.

Clemenson said the police strategy featured aims to maximise public safety and minimise disorder, to provide an “effective, proportionate and professional” police response to the event and to minimise the impact on the road and transport network.

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“All in all it was an absolutely fantastic event that I was very proud to be part of, on both a personal and professional capacity,” he added.

“The event organisers had clearly worked very hard to deliver such a safe and enjoyable event and their experience and commitment was critical to the overall success.”

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