Community Safety Advice

Domestic Property

There are a number of areas to consider, starting with the perimeter of the property. Consider the fencing/hedging/wall you have, although giving privacy to you it can also provide the same for potential intruders.

  • One of the most effective deterrents to a would-be thief is lighting, make sure your property has properly positioned lights. There are various other types of systems on the market and you should consider your requirements before choosing.
  • Your external doors should be of good quality with locks to British Standard 3621 (these should have the kite mark) or equivalent, remember there is very little point fitting a high quality lock to a poor quality door or vice versa.
  • Windows are possibly the most vulnerable points of the house. All ground floor windows should have lock or opening restrictors fitted. Any upper storey window, which is easily accessible from a flat roof or down pipe (if plastic pipes are fitted, then this should remove the problem), should have similar security.
  • Items stored in garages, sheds or outbuilding, i.e. cycles, lawnmowers, hand tools etc are all capable of being stolen and are expensive to replace. If you fit good quality security devices to these buildings then it protects your property and deters intruders.
  • Consider hasps and close shackled padlocks for sheds, up and over garage doors are best fitted with internal sliding bolts on either side of the door or external ring and bar cemented into the ground fitted with a strong hasp and padlock.
  • Ladders and tools should be kept securely stored not only to prevent theft, but also to prevent these being used to attack your property.

Bogus Callers

Occasionally we have bogus workmen/dealers visiting our islands, these people usually try and buy property from you at a price that is much less than its value. The other type of caller are the ones who agree to carry out work for you, they charge a high price for sub-standard work.

If you have any doubts about any person who calls at your door, do not let them into your house. Ask for ID, a genuine caller will have no problem with this. If you are concerned at all contact your local  Police Station.

Personal Safety

Most of us go on holiday or have to work away at some time and you should consider the following points.

  • Where possible you should limit the amount of accessible cash and valuables we carry when out and about, carrying too much may attracts unwelcome attention.
  • Bag snatching is an opportunist crime, to reduce the opportunity, carry your bag tightly under your arm, a shoulder bag should be carried to the front.
  • Walk in busy well-lit areas if possible, keeping to the middle of the pavement.
  • When on a car journey never pick up hitchhikers.
  • If your are travelling and someone is waiting for you, tell them the route you plan to use and how long you expect the journey to take.
  • When you answer the phone do not divulge your name or number until the caller identifies himself/herself or you know who it is. If you have an answering machine the advice is the same, do not use your name and number on messages.
  • These are just a few basic tips on personal safety, if you have any concerns regarding any aspect of your safety or security, please ask for advice or assistance.

Neighbourhood Watch

Neighbourhood Watch

Make use of any scheme in your area and give it your support by reporting suspicious incidents to the local co-ordinator or the police. By doing this we will be able to establish an effective two-way road of communication, and hopefully, reduce the risk of you or your neighbourhood being the target of criminal activity. At present there are two Neighbourhood Watches in the Western Isles. They are both in Stornoway, one in the Newton ward area and the other in the Manor/Castle ward area. If you would like any information on this subject then contact the Crime Prevention Officer, Tel: 01851702222 

Commercial Property

The main purpose of having security is to protect your property, prevent an intruder attacking your premises and to increase the possibility of any potential intruder being observed. In order to achieve this we can look at several principles, which will help.

Target hardening – making targets more resistant to attack or more difficult to remove or damage. This could mean fitting stronger or more secure doors and windows, upgrading existing window and door locks, fitting bars or grills to windows, fitting an alarm system or improving fencing.

Target removal – permanent or temporary removal of vulnerable property. This means making sure high value or easily stolen property is not visible from the street through window or to members of the public entering premises. This could be as simple a step as to moving computers away from windows.

Remove the means to commit crime – making sure that materials capable of being used to help intruders commit a crime are not accessible. This would mean securing or storing ladders inside or out of sight, not storing pallets, boxes or crates next to walls or fences. Thus removing the opportunity of intruders using then as climbing aids. Also the correct storage of tools would prevent items, such as sledgehammers being used to break doors etc.

Access control – restricting access to sites, buildings or parts of such places. This would prevent potential intruders from looking around to see what was available to steal. To put these restrictions in place would require correct reception procedures, the use of electronic access control systems or gated accesses.

Visibility/surveillance – making sure that an offender would be visible if they carried out a crime. This principle has three elements natural, formal and informal surveillance. Natural surveillance means making the property/building more visible to the community where possible and may require installing or improving lighting or the pruning or removing of hedges, shrubs, large bushes or trees. Formal surveillance is the use of modern technology, employees or security staff to deter and identify potential intruders. Informal security would involve encouraging the local community to watch the area and encourage them to report anything suspicious.

Environmental design – changing the environment of a building, site, estate or even a town to reduce the opportunity for committing crime. The emphasis of this principle is putting a range of preventive measures in place at the planning stage. This would involve Businesses, Architects, Planners and the Police Architectural Liaison Officer meeting together at the design stage of a project to look at the plans in order to design out crime.

Increase the chance of being caught – anything that slows down an intruder or increases the chance of being caught is an effective tool in crime prevention. This would mean ensuring that any security system in place works effectively, making the potential intruder more visible, implementing preventive measures to slow them down and alerting them to the fact that there are security measures in place.

Internet Scams

Small businesses that use the Internet to advertise are often targeted by individuals attempting to scam money from them, the main targets are often small hotels and guesthouses, however, any small business is susceptible. The majority of these frauds would appear to originate from West Africa and are sent by fraudsters using a web-based email address such as Yahoo or Hotmail. Anyone receiving correspondence similar to that described above is advised not to send any money to any person and contact their nearest Police station. If you are unsure of the caller take their details and contact number and either call your bank’s customer service department or your local branch.

Anyone who has any information about any scams is asked to contact their nearest Police station or if preferred you can contact Crimestoppers 24-7 anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Useful Numbers

Station Tel.
Local Police Stations and Crimestoppers
Stornoway 01851 702222
Ness  01851 810298
Barvas  01851 840222
Carloway  01851 643222
Tarbert   01859 502002
Lochmaddy 01876 500328
Benbecula 01870 602374
Lochboisdale  01878 700261
Castlebay 01871 810276
Crimestoppers 0800 555111


Office / Contact Tel.
Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar
Community Safety Partnership 01851 822709
Antisocial Behaviour Officer 01851 705144
Council Offices, Sandwick Road, Stornoway 01851 600 501
Council Offices, Tarbert, Isle of Harris 01859 502145
Councill Offices, Balavanich, Benbecula  01870 602425
Council Offices, Castlebay, Isle of Barra 01871 810431
Faire (Emergency Calls) 01851 701702


Hospital Tel.
Western Isles Health Board
Ospadal Nan Eilean Siar, Macaulay Road, Stornoway 01851 704704
Ospadal Uibhist Agus Bharraigh, Balavanich, Benbecula   01851 603603
St Brendans Hospital, Castlebay, Isle of Barra 01871 810465


Agency Tel.
Western Isles Womans Aid   01851 704750
Western Isles Citizens Advice Bureau 01851 705727
Samaritans   08457 909090
Hebridean Housing Partnership  0300 123 0773