Safer towns in a pilot project
New hub tackling social problems head-on
A pilot project by the emergency services and South Lanarkshire Council is experiencing massive results in tackling crime and anti-social behaviour.
The Community Safety Partnership Hub is confronting a range of problems - from noise and neighbour disputes to illegal bonfires and violence.
The project sees staff from Police Scotland, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and South Lanarkshire Council meet at least once a week to collectively find solutions to problems which are cropping up in the communities of Rutherglen and Cambuslang.
Set up some months ago, it has already seen success in reducing anti-social behaviour in Burnhill, which led to the arrest of a man making a nuisance of himself in a public park and the detection of a person making malicious 999 calls.
Sergeant Teri Flynn, from Rutherglen Police Station, sits on the partnership and said her officers worked with the fire service, housing and community wardens to address recurring issues in Burnhill.
She continued: “In Burnhill, for example, the youths had a sofa where they would congregate, they were setting fires and sometimes the fire service wasn’t even aware of this.
“When we came to the meeting here we were able to pass on that information. The council picked up the sofa, Watch Commander Alistair Stewart’s team were looking at the fires and that’s how at ground level it has helped operationally.”
Inspector Bob Bryce added: “In Burnhill, around Western Avenue, the community wardens were increased, the anti-violence reduction unit and housing were heavily involved as well.
“The increased partnership work leads to an increase in detection and an increased trust in the police so that people come to us more frequently and report problems.
“From the council, we have had extensive funding to tackle this and we are in the process of having CCTV moved to tackle issues there. A lot of these actions have been the direct result of these meetings.”
Continued discussion at the partnership meetings has also seen the council target community wardens and their mobile CCTV at areas causing problems for the police, most recently detecting a man who had been pestering women in a local park.
The estates team was also able to focus a CCTV camera on a public phone to identify the person making repeated nuisance calls to the police and fire service.
The police, meanwhile, have been able to pass crime reports on to housing officers pursuing antisocial behaviour orders, as well as make referrals to the council’s neighbour dispute mediation service. This action, police say, can stop arguments escalating into violence. The fire service has been receiving more referrals from housing officers and police about vulnerable people who would benefit from a home fire safety visit, as well as information on where youths are starting small fires.
Watch commander Stewart said: “We are heavily involved in community engagement.
“If we’re looking at driving down secondary fires, through this group we can identify where problems are and we can target resources at schools and community groups.
“It gives us the opportunity to engage with people to let them understand the effect secondary fires has on everyone in the community not just the fire service.
“Without this group we would be limited to the knowledge that we have only.”
PC Kenny Smith, assistant local authority liaison officer, said the ability of each organisation to share information and resources in a timely manner was bringing huge benefits.
He said: “It’s positive for us all, there are positive results that we have delivered to the people of Rutherglen and Cambuslang.
“The public may think that we work in insolation, but we work in a joined up manner.
“The community wardens speak to the problem solving team cops and we speak to them and the fact that we are working together as one team means we are aiming for one goal - and that is to keep people in the community safe.”
Dangerous Deliberate fires being set have been a cause for concern in Burnhill this year