Labour moves to bring back council-funded CATs

Councillor Jim Muirhead outside Dalkeith Police Station.

Councillor Jim Muirhead outside Dalkeith Police Station.

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The new Labour minority administration has started the process of reinstating the Midlothian Police Community Action Teams (CAT).

On Tuesday the seven-strong Labour administration received backing from the five Conservative councillors for its motion to investigate the possibility of reintroducing the dedicated police teams axed completely in March this year by the previous SNP administration following a phased reduction from 14 officers.

The motion moved by Councillor Jim Muirhead (Lab) claimed that this phasing out coincided with a rise in anti-social behaviour.

It called on the reinstatement of the funding of the two CATs and instructed officers to negotiate with Police Scotland to determine the timescale required for this to be achieved and the cost of implementation in the current financial year.

Officers were also instructed to investigate the annual cost in future years and the basis of a service level agreement between the council and Police Scotland.

An SNP Spokesman said: “The SNP group does not disagree in principle with funding measures to tackle antisocial behaviour, in administration we doubled funding to tackle this through Street Partnership programmes. The Labour group are taking a very narrow approach – value for council tax payers’ money must take account of solving the root issues not just moving the issues somewhere else and giving Police Scotland a blank cheque.”