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Police Scotland urged to get serious about tackling low level crime

Blairgowrie. The Picturesque town is a low crime area but has been blighted by antisocial behaviour in recent weeks.
Blairgowrie. The Picturesque town is a low crime area but has been blighted by antisocial behaviour in recent weeks.

Police Scotland has been told to change the way it protects small communities to prevent them from being harassed by low level criminality.

The force cracked down on vandalism and antisocial behaviour in Blairgowrie in the face of a surge in incidents.

The extra patrols deployed in the town centre resulted in at least one arrest and a steep reduction in disturbance.

Local councillor Caroline Shiers, however, said the much lauded action was little more than a temporary return to traditional community policing and “bobbies on the beat”.

Ms Shiers has called for police action to be long lasting to prevent trouble from flaring up once more – saying local people have become “sceptical” about Police Scotland’s commitment to finding long term solutions.

She said the town was low on serious crime but low level criminality could have a great impact on residents’ daily quality of life.

Councillor Caroline Shiers wants to see a return to traditional community policing, believing it is the only way to deliver lasting improvements for communities such as Blairgowrie.

The Conservative councillor has also pledged to work harder to ensure there is more for young people to do in Blairgowrie.

Vandals have repeatedly targeted the heart of Perthshire’s biggest town and the wave of antisocial behaviour has been linked to a small group of individuals gathering in the town centre.

They have been linked to damage to benches, the Wellmeadow well,the Christmas lights and hanging basket brackets.

Chief Inspector Ian Scott said: “There was an increase in antisocial behaviour and vandalism in Blairgowrie in October. Not all of the incidents that took place were reported to the police.

“Additional patrols were put in place and a male has since been charged. That seems to have had the desired result.”

Ms Shiers said the police action was welcome but said she and community leaders believe more must be done.

“What I truly believe we need is the more sustained approach that would come from a return to genuine community policing.

“What we see all too often is temporary action that quells any trouble but then sees it flare up once more when resources are then directed elsewhere.

“The action we have just seen taken so successfully by Police Scotland must continue for a sustained period if we are really to tackle the problems and gather good intelligence on who is responsible.

“Cynicism has crept into the community and I think there is a real feeling that we have all seen this before and know what will happen next.”

Ms Shiers said: “As a council we need to look at youth services and what we and our partners can do to provide more things for young people in Blairgowrie to do.

“My plea to Police Scotland would be to commit to community policing to provide sustainable and effective solutions to antisocial behaviour.

“The force needs to work with communities such as Blairgowrie to map-out what that should look like.

“Police Scotland has been brilliant at dealing with major crime but this low level activity must be tackled decisively alongside that work.”

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