Force to pay for leisure centre activities for kids

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Local police are paying for extended opening hours and free usage at Teviotdale Leisure Centre on a Friday night in a bid to combat Burnfoot’s antisocial behaviour problems.

This was revealed by Inspector John Scott at Tuesday’s meeting in response to criticism that his officers aren’t visible enough and that there is nothing for the youngsters to do.

In a statement to the Hawick News on Thursday, Inspector Scott said: “At a meeting on Tuesday night we listened to the community’s concerns and will address these on a multi-agency basis which includes local housing associations, the community learning and development department, the antisocial behaviour unit, the wider Safer Communities team and Scottish Borders Council.

“One of the strategies funded by the Safer Communities team was to extend the opening hours of Teviotdale Leisure Centre and offer all the facilities free for the next five weeks to divert young people away from antisocial behaviour and into more positive activities.”

Burnfoot Community Council chair Michael Grieve said: “I applaud this move and it is welcome. Anything that gets kids off the street corners has to be viewed as positive.

“However, I admit I am concerned that this measure is short term and when it comes to an end, we could well be faced with the problems many on our estate have recently been experiencing.”

One resident commented: “I’m all in favour of getting the kids off the street and giving them something to do. But the fact remains that we are woefully short of police, not just on this estate but in Hawick, and as we were told by police on Tuesday night this is a fact of life and we just have to accept it.”