Booze-fuelled bother on decline in Hawick, figures reveal

Burnfoot in Hawick.
Burnfoot in Hawick.

Although still well above the average for the Borders, there was a signficant fall in incidents of anti-social behaviour fuelled by booze in Hawick last financial year, a meeting heard this week.

That downward trend is reported in the latest alcohol profile summary compiled with input from Police Scotland and NHS Borders and presented to this week’s meeting of Scottish Borders Council’s licensing forum, chaired by Tweeddale West councillor Willie Archibald.

For the purposes of statistical gathering and to inform Scottish Government policy-making, since the 2001 census the Borders has been split into 28 so-called intermediate zones reflecting “similar social characteristics”.

In Hawick there are four such zones – Hawick Central, Hawick North, Hawick West End and Burnfoot.

Across the Borders, the number of anti-social behaviour incidents in which booze was a factor fell from 19.6 per 1,000 of the population in 2014-15 to 18.5 last year.

In Hawick Central, that rate fell from 56.9 to 49 over the same period; in Hawick West End, it was down from 30.4 to 25.2; and in Burnfoot, the incidence was cut from 20 to 17.7.

Only in Hawick North, which has the second highest density of off-sale premises in the region, was an increase in the rate recorded – up from 25.8 to 28.8.

However, the figures for emergency attendances at the Borders General Hospital in Melrose due to excessive alcohol consumption are not so positive, as revealed in a preview in the Hawick News last week.

Though the average across the Borders was seven attendances per 1,000 of the population, down from 7.6 the previous year, increases were recorded in two of the four Hawick zones.

Accident-and-emergency unit attendances recorded for Hawick Central were 12.5, up from 8.3; for Burnfoot, they were 11, up from 9.6; for Hawick North, they were nine, down from 9.4; and for Hawick West End, they were six, less than half the previous year’s figure of 12.2.