New inspector says isles have same problems as elsewhere
Lerwick’s newest policeman is inspector Eddie Graham, who announced his promotion to the rank this week.
Inspector Graham, who had served in Shetland from 1999 to 2003 and most recently worked in Orkney, said he hoped Shetland’s communities would provide him with the necessary support to help keep the isles among the safest places to live and work in the UK.
Shetland enjoys some of the lowest levels of recorded crime in the country and its detection rate is enviable, but inspector Graham stressed this could not be achieved by the police in isolation.
Although the current economic climate will mean “challenging” times ahead within the police service, he said: “With the support of the public and partnership organisations we will endeavour to deliver the quality of service that makes island living a safe environment.”
But he warned that Shetland is not immune from problems that affect everywhere else.
“Part of my role as area inspector is the management of public expectation as well as the overseeing of day-to-day operational matters together with forward planning.
“The Lonely Planet was right when it put Shetland at number six in its guide of the top 10 places to visit, however we cannot be complacent.
“There are issues that impact heavily on the community here such as those who seek to profit from the trade in illegal drugs, antisocial behaviour and the misery that this can bring to neighbours and law-abiding citizens.
“We as a community will have to work hard to tackle the issues that impact on island life. With your help the service will play our part in that partnership.”
After transferring from Fife Constabulary in 1991, inspector Graham was posted to Gairloch and then to the force’s training and recruitment department at force headquarters. Later he became section sergeant at Kyle of Lochalsh.
In 1999 he successfully applied for a posting as shift sergeant in Lerwick, a move he warmed to immediately.
He said: “My family and I settled into the community very quickly and we were touched by the warmth from the locals. We were also heartened by the strong family bonds Shetlanders have as well and the pride in their communities.
“This period of service also gave my three children an excellent start to their education when they were schooled in Quarff.”
In 2003 the family left Shetland, but the lifestyle they had enjoyed was hard to match elsewhere and they could not bring themselves to return to the mainland. For that reason they settled in Orkney where inspector Graham served as shift sergeant.
When the Shetland area inspector vacancy arose recently inspector Graham jumped at the chance to return.
He said: “Given my experiences of living in island communities, particularly Shetland, I was delighted to be presented with an opportunity to once again tackle the challenges that remote living can bring.”