A Borders councillor has pooh-poohed claims that a new community police team is proving a success after statistics revealed only two tickets had been issued for dog fouling in the last six months.
The council-funded Police Community Action Team (CAT) was established in April as a way of addressing anti-social behaviour across the region.
Supporters of the new initiative have highlighted its successes.
Between April and the end of September this year, 460 parking tickets were issued by CAT officers across the Borders.
In the same period in 2017, 332 tickets were issued, representing an increase of 38.61 per cent.
However, since April the community team, funded with a joint investment of £282,000 from the council and Police Scotland, has only issued two penalty notices relating to dog fouling.
That figure is damning one, according to Councillor Davie Paterson, of Hawick and Hermitage, who said the council should “ask for its money back”.
Executive member for community safety, Councillor George Turnbull, disagreed with that assessment when the figures were revealed at a meeting of the full council last week.
He said: “There are cases in which there is an identified dog owner and a witness willing to provide a statement to Police Scotland. Once a statement has been obtained a ticket is issued if there is a sufficiency of evidence.
“The CAT patrols areas where dog fouling is a problem, and when the police are visible people are tending to pick up after their dogs.
“We would highlight that the CAT responsibilities do extend beyond those of dog fouling and we would point to the other positive aspects of the team’s deployment, i.e. parking tickets, high visibility patrols, proactive drug searches and road checks etc.”
Mr Paterson said: “I put the question on how many members of the public have been fined for parking infringements in the Scottish Borders.
“I was told by the portfolio leader that 460 people had been fined for parking infringements while only two people have been fined for failing to clean up after their dogs.
“I then asked a supplementary question as to when the council leader or the portfolio holder will be meeting with the Scottish government to demand our money back. This is our money and we should have use of it.
“This is costing the council over £30,000 a year, money that goes straight into the Scottish government coffers. It’s like they are just concentrating on the motorists and just ignoring the ever-increasing dog fouling issue.”