Labour call again for the reinstatement of Police CAT teams

Wednesday October 12th 2016

Dalkeith - Jarnac Court

Midlothian Council Labour Group are again calling on the SNP administration to reverse its decision to cut funding for Local Police following reports of mob rule in Dalkeith.

Local Businessman, Stephen Curran who operates a taxi in the area, contacted local Councillor Margot Russell to raise his concerns.

Mr Curran said: “Over the last two weeks, large groups of youths have been given free range to run riot through the streets of Dalkeith. The police seem to have been absent and unable to deal with the problems. Almost every night youths are gathering in King’s Park, drinking, and then coming into the town centre to wreak havoc. Shop windows have been kicked in; wheelie bins emptied and thrown into the roadway, traffic cones have been thrown at passing vehicles and passers-by verbally abused. It’s about time the Police and the Council addressed this as a priority before someone gets hurt or there is even more damage caused.”

Local Labour Councillor, Margot Russell visited a number of the shops that have been attacked by the youths, some estimated to be as young as 11.

Councillor Russell said “These youngsters are causing great distress to local people and businesses. There are real concerns about the impact this might have on future business if it is not nipped in the bud. At least 5 businesses have had their windows smashed over the last week or so. Some have raised with me the issue of the police being unable to attend when required.”

Councillor Jim Muirhead, who organised a campaign against the cutting of 14 front line police officers by SNP run Midlothian Council said: “What we are seeing here is the first signs of the effect of the cuts forced through by the SNP earlier this year. The Community Action Teams (14 front line police officers) have been cut drastically and will disappear all together in March.

“We are facing a huge reduction in the number of Police officers able to deal effectively with youth disorder, which was the primary focus of the CAT teams, and because of the need to re-deploy officers in advance of the March cuts, we can see that it has already started.

“I am extremely concerned that in order to deal with this problem, the police will have to target their dwindling resources at Dalkeith and as a consequence leave other areas of Midlothian with little or no cover.

“Once again I would urge the SNP administration to reconsider their decision to remove these officers from our streets.”

Councillor Margot Russell has spoken to a number of businesses affected and one major supermarket in the town has told her that they are being forced to ask their head office for security officers to be supplied.

Midlothian Council for the last 10 years has provided funding for additional police officers who focussed on proactive work, particularly the prevention of youth disorder and assisted response officers with youth disorder issues.

Midlothian paid £500k per year which funded 2 teams of 7 officers (6 PCs and a Sergeant). At the 2015/16 budget the SNP administration cut funding by 25% and will cut funding completely at the end of March 2017.

Local senior police officers have confirmed Labour’s assertion that the cuts will mean 14 front line officers will no longer be available to them.

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