A leading Police Scotland figure has said Scotland reacted differently to England and Wales in the aftermath of the European Referendum because we have “closer communities”.
England and Wales have seen a reported increase in the number of hate crimes since last month’s Brexit vote. However, the rise doesn’t appear to have occurred in Scotland.
Assistant chief constable Kate Thomson made the comments while in Dundee, launching a Polish language version of a national policing survey.
She said: “I think following the European election result we have not seen the same impact as they have felt in England and Wales.
“In Scotland, this seems to be due to more closer communities, so we are not experiencing that.
“I, and my colleagues, are really consciously aware of it as something we have to be mindful of.
“I think there are some people and groups of people who find the police a hard to reach organisation. We want to bridge the gap – to demonstrate we want to listen to what people want to say.”
Speaking to members of the local Polish community at Dundee’s Boomerang centre, ACC Thomson highlighted how the Your View Counts survey could help police improve lives within local areas.
She added: “Our launch of the Polish Police Scotland Facebook site almost a year ago was a recognition of the value we place in the active Polish community across Scotland, supported by the pride and commitment of our Polish speaking officers.
“The messages on the Polish Facebook page have been seen more than 850,000 times since it was launched last July. It seems therefore, entirely fitting, that we complement this with a Polish version of the online survey.
“I would really urge everybody to take the time, just 15 minutes, to complete the survey as we genuinely want to hear what people have to say.”
The survey was launched three months ago and the first batch of results are expected to be published soon.
Dagmarah Dzalok, 15, who moved to Dundee from Poland eight years ago, said by using Polish, police would improve their engagement with the community.
She said: “If the police could communicate with the Polish community more, then they will be more comfortable talking to the police. It will give them a bigger say in what is going on, and they’ll feel more free to approach them.”