WEST Dunbartonshire’s new Area Commander has told of how stepping into the role is the highlight of her policing career so far.

Kirsten McLatchie officially took over from Ryan McMurdo as Local Area Commander for Police Scotland’s Argyll & West Dunbartonshire Division at the start of the year.

Speaking exclusively to the Post on Friday Chief Inspector McLatchie revealed her goals for the force in 2024 and how it feels to take on the role of top cop.

She said: “I arrived at Dumbarton Police Office to be Communities Inspector for Clydebank in May last year.

“I was then promoted in November. Coming here and getting that opportunity to be the area commander has absolutely been the highlight of my career so far.

“I am thrilled to be here and I’m looking forward to working with the people of West Dunbartonshire.

“It was brilliant to work in Clydebank we worked very heavily along with our partners in identifying issues such as anti-social behaviour in Chalmers Street and took a very collaborative approach to that.

“It was really rewarding to see changes happening within the area and I intend to carry on those collaborative relationships going forward and to make sure that we’re all working together to solve any issues that the community has and to serve them.

“Having an underpinning knowledge of the area is so helpful and I’ve been able to work closely with Communities Inspector Morven Sutherland who has the most amazing knowledge of the area.”

Clydebank Post: [Right to left]: Local Area Commander Kirsten McLatchie and Communities Inspector Morven Sutherland[Right to left]: Local Area Commander Kirsten McLatchie and Communities Inspector Morven Sutherland (Image: Newsquest staff)Kirsten explained that various issues have emerged across the region that are giving cause for concern including violence and youth disorder.

As such she revealed that the division will be taking a proactive policing approach to tackling incidents of this nature.

Officers will also target “areas of emerging concern” which so far include Chalmers Street, Whitecrook, and Balloch Park during the summer months.

So how will this be achieved?

Chief Inspector McLatchie said: “In terms of policing priorities we will be focusing on the safety of the communities as well as tackling violence and anti-social behaviour especially as the days grow longer.

“We will do that by undertaking proactive policing measures, targeting areas of emerging concerns, and undertaking engagement measures within the community as we always do.

“Matters such as violence and anti-social behaviour will continue to be robustly investigated.

“We had some issues last year with the area around Chalmers Street, the area of Whitecrook, and as the better days come in we’ve got Balloch Park.

“We’ve got pre-emptive policing action plans and patrolling that we have come up with from last year in order to flex that as the need emerges if it does emerge this year.

“Officers will be out and about, our town centre officers – in Clydebank, Dumbarton, and Alexandria – are always out.

“There will be directed patrols up at Balloch Park again and officers will be dispensing their duties and speaking to members of the public providing a bit of community reassurance.

“Policing is very dynamic and things change all the time. Crime trends also change all the time so what we are doing now is using evidence-based policing which looks at statistics, crime trends, and analysis to work out where any future issues may arise and pinpoint them.

“It’s a matter of waiting to see as well as being proactive to curb any emerging trends as they come up.”

Kirsten started her policing career in 2009 when she was based in the Southside of Glasgow.

Over the years she went on to work various corporate roles before being promoted to Inspector.

Before arriving in Clydebank, she worked in Police Scotland’s Operational Support Division (OSD).

Clydebank Post: Officers during COP26 in GlasgowOfficers during COP26 in Glasgow (Image: Andrew Milligan/PA Archive/PA Images)

Clydebank Post: Police outside of COP26 in GlasgowPolice outside of COP26 in Glasgow (Image: Andrew Milligan/PA Archive/PA Images)Reflecting on the past 15 years Chief Inspector McLatchie recalls COP26 as being one of her most memorable operations.

She said: “Being involved in COP26 was three weeks of the biggest policing operation that Police Scotland has ever undertaken and actually one of the biggest in the whole of the UK.

“I worked with a cadre of officers from right across Scotland and that made it a very memorable experience for me, making a difference to such an important event within world politics.”