In the latest Police Scotland column, Chief Inspector Vinnie Fisher, the local area commander for the Scottish Borders, gives us an update on policing matters in the region.

As the local area commander for the Scottish Borders, I’m delighted that we now have a regular column in place, which allows us to engage with our communities and provide an insight into all the important work we are undertaking, as well as the range of other events and issues affecting the region.

I want to first of all start off on a positive note in relation to the recent targeted recruitment campaign we launched.

READ MORE - Ambulance staff treat two people after Tweedbank bus disturbance

This is now starting to pay dividends and we’ve seen a positive rise in the number of people from the Borders applying to be full-time police officers or joining the Special Constabulary.

Not only does this mean more members of Borders communities are represented within the service, but it also means we have more local knowledge and expertise being deployed within the Borders, as many of these new recruits are working within their home division.

If anyone else is considering a job within Police Scotland, I would encourage you to visit the recruitment section of our website to discover what type of roles and positions are available.

READ MORE - RS McColl go into administration to 'protect the interests' of staff

With COVID restrictions easing, we are seeing a number of events across the Borders, which had previously been cancelled or postponed, be reintroduced.

Over the coming months, we will once again see a range of events, such as common ridings, gala days, cycling events, rallies and rugby sevens tournaments taking place throughout our region.

It’s great that life is moving back towards a normality we all recognise and enjoy, but all of these goings-on can be very resource intensive for police and other emergency services.

Fortunately, we have a wealth of experience in the planning and policing of these events and we work closely with our partners to keep all attendees safe.

The public have a vital role to play in supporting our efforts by consuming alcohol responsibly and ensuring they know how they are going to get to and from their destination when enjoying a day or night out within the Borders.

READ MORE - New flight route from Edinburgh to Nimes announced

Given the geographical location of the Borders, rural crime remains one of our main policing concerns and often offences are committed in our area by criminals who travel from other parts of Scotland and England.

Typically, these criminals target farms and other rural properties to steal quad bikes, agricultural vehicles, farming tools and machinery.

We need rural communities to report any and all suspicious activity as soon as it is observed so it can be quickly and thoroughly investigated, with a view to preventing crime occurring, or to apprehend criminals in the act.

Please also be mindful of the use of drones, over your property.

This is sometimes a tactic employed to survey what is on the grounds and when people are on site.

You can help safeguard your property and belongings by taking a range of simple steps, such as investing in robust locks, motion-activated lighting, security alarms and if necessary, CCTV cameras.

Keys for vehicles and machinery should also be removed when not in use and stored somewhere safely.

Fitting vehicle trackers is a vital tool in assisting officers locate and return any vehicles that are stolen from your property.

If you would like a free rural crime prevention pack that includes security marking kits, signage and other helpful advice, please contact us through our online portal, by popping into any police station, or by phoning 101.

We are committed to keeping the Borders a safe place to live, work and visit and we all have an important role to play in achieving this goal.