A “coffee with a cop” scheme has been launched in a Perth fast food restaurant in a bid to reduce anti-social behaviour.
Bosses of McDonald’s in Dunkeld Road admitted they are aware of an issue in and around their premises, after police revealed a string of night time incidents from over the festive period.
A Freedom of Information request identified that police were called out the city’s Dunkeld Road branch of McDonald’s nine times between the hours of 11pm and 6am from last September to January this year.
These incidents ranged from disturbances to concerns for an individual and a recorded assault.
Cops listed September and November as their busiest of the months, with three call outs to the restaurant in each of the months, and general disturbances made up more than half of reports.
Whilst the police presence was more common during these hours at the fast food restaurant near the city centre, not a single call was made from the Broxden branch.
In a bid to combat the problem, McDonald’s staff have launched a “coffee with a cop” initiative at the branch.
A McDonald’s spokesperson: “We are aware of antisocial behaviour in the local area and in addition to our continued work with Police Scotland, we’ve introduced ‘Coffee with a Cop’ evenings where the restaurant welcomes the local community to discuss issues and help find solutions.
“Our priority is to be a good neighbour and we continually strive to create a friendly, welcoming environment for our people and customers.”
Local area commander Chief Inspector Ian Scott said: “The trend to offer 24-hour catering offers residents and visitors greater access to facilities and services at a time of the customers choosing.
“Occasionally there can be reports of anti-social behaviour linked to either a specific location, business or alcohol consumption.
“We will endeavour to deal proportionately with the matter reported to ourselves at the time and through a partnership approach, led by our locality policing teams, create a lasting solution to reduce and prevent any systemic problems.
A police spokesperson said the initiative was launched in Perth following a successful trial in Dundee, in the hope it will break down the barriers between police officers and the community.
He said: ‘The ethos behind ‘Coffee with a cop’ is to break down the barriers between police officers and the community where they work.
‘This provides an opportunity for real conversations to be had between residents and police officers at a local venue. This is a great way of hearing from the public about issues that matter to them.”
Perth and Kinross Council is also working with police on a number of measures to combat anti-social behaviour.
A council spokesperson said: “We are supportive of Police Scotland’s proportionate approach to community safety.
“To keep supporting what is a generally very safe night-time economy in Perth, our safer community wardens work in partnership with local officers to monitor and respond to reports of anti-social behaviour as and when these arise.”
City centre councillor and convener for community safety Peter Barrett added: “In the past when there have been issues McDonald’s and the police have worked effectively to tackle the problem, restricting access to WiFi and increasing patrols when required.
“What the figures show is the remarkably low level of late night incidents over a six month period.”