THERE’S a new police inspector in town and so far he’s loving Linlithgow.
Inspector Neill Whiteside has taken up residence at Court Square splitting his time between the Royal burgh and Broxburn, as he covers the patch with the help of his team whom he has nothing but praise for.
Neill (36) said: “The latest crime figures for October are very good for Linlithgow.
‘’There have been no serious crimes and there is less than one crime every two days.
‘‘A lot of this is down to the good work of the officers here and the team - they have good contacts and relationships with the community.
‘‘They had it sorted long before I got here!”
But despite low crime levels, Neill knows there are always challenges to face.
He added: “We are working alongside officers in Grangemouth to keep on top of people travelling into the area to commit crime.
‘‘We are sharing information so we can work together to prevent this and get the word out. The crime solving rate is up but we can always do more.”
Neill started his career in the Grampian force in Aberdeen in 1999 and has held several posts before transferring to Lothian and Borders where he worked in response policing in Craigmillar and community policing in Drylaw, before taking up a training role.
He joined the Edinburgh Council safety neighbourhood team and worked at the police college from 2005-2008.
After that he relocated to the Edinburgh City Centre unit becoming an Inspector in 2009 and was part of a team tasked with making savings across the force.
As to why crime is so low in the Linlithgow area, Neill added: “West Lothian has never been a safer place to live and Linlithgow is the jewel in the crown for a mixture of reasons.
‘’There are high levels of community spirit, people willing to get involved, and a lot of family events.
‘’People turn out as a community - in other places you have proximity but not this closeness.”
Outside of work, Neill enjoys going to extreme lengths for kid’s charity Over The Wall, this year competing in the Great North Run for the third time, covered in 10 blue flashing lights - as well as his full uniform. He is also planning a parachute jump in January to raise funds for the same charity.
Neill, originally from Northern Ireland, lives with his wife and cat in Fife.