On the Beat - Let’s work together to curb the rowdiness

Midlothian councillors are to join police on the beat
Midlothian councillors are to join police on the beat

As we move towards the end of the summer and the nights begin to darken I am conscious that we have suffered a recent spike of anti-social behaviour in Midlothian and in particular Danderhall, writes Chief Inspector Kenny Simpson.

This is a subject that I regularly discuss in my column and have previously mentioned problems in Dalkeith town centre, Bonnyrigg and Straiton for example.

When we detect a pattern or problem I am able to focus resources on the area in an effort to deter and detect offenders and consider diversion methods with our partners at Midlothian Council and other local groups.

It is this process of working together with others which will, hopefully, identify solutions to the underlying issues surrounding youth anti-social behaviour and not merely displace it from one area to another.

This partnership approach is to be strengthened in the future as we work with the local council to create Community Action Teams which will consist of police officers with a remit to tackle local issues, such as anti-social behaviour, across Midlothian as a whole.

In the spirit of partnerships some of your local councillors will be spending a weekend with us in the coming weeks to get an appreciation of policing in Midlothian.

They will visit the area control room at Bilston, be out and about with local officers and also visit the custody area at Dalkeith so they can understand the various aspects of our job and how our systems work.

I would again ask for your help in this area by being aware of what your children are up to at night, have they been drinking alcohol and if so where is it coming from?

My officers have been visiting off-licences to highlight the issue of underage drinking and to ensure they are challenging young people when they attempt to buy drink.

This work has led to persons being charged and convicted and we will continue to target this in an effort to reduce the problems associated with underage drinking and drunkenness.

If you have any information regarding places were underage youths are obtaining alcohol you can either phone 101 and ask for your local community officer or alternatively phone the anonymous Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111.

I would like to raise another issue we often experience at this time of year, namely an increase in the number of bogus workmen calls as people offer their services on the doorstep to prepare people’s gardens and homes for the winter.

I would emphasise the need to check any identification, don’t agree to work straight away but consider the quote and ask for it in writing. Advice on cold callers and identifying fraudulent schemes can be found on the Police Scotland or Midlothian Council websites.