Safer towns in a pi­lot project

New hub tack­ling so­cial prob­lems head-on

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Edel Ke­nealy

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

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