We’re falling short, police tell residents

Burnfoot Road
Burnfoot Road

A top cop told Burnfoot residents this week that they have not had the service from Police Scotland they deserve.

That was the stark admission from local inspector John Scott who attended Tuesday’s public meeting in Burnfoot School, aimed at addressing antisocial behaviour on the estate.

More than 50 residents attended the multi-agency meeting and police were left in little doubt that the public feel let down.

This forced an admission from Mr Scott, who said: “The fact is that there are times when we are not giving you the level of response you deserve.” He added: “We have to put things into perspective here. There are 415 children in this estate and 400 or so of them are well behaved and cause no problems. It is a small minority who are responsible for the antisocial issues.”

One resident responded: “That means nothing when a large group of youngsters are causing problems night after night outside your front door. We call the police and if you’re lucky you get through but nothing gets done.”

The meeting was attended by several representatives from local housing providers and the antisocial behaviour unit as well youth workers and Scottish Borders Council.

Social landlords gave assurances that they take antisocial behaviour seriously, and increased youth provision was touched upon, but the general feeling among residents was one of frustration.

Speaking to the Hawick News following the meeting, Councillor Watson McAteer said: “The level of local concern following the disruptive antics of a small but persistent group of youngsters was evident by the fantastic turnout of Burnfoot residents as well as national and local elected representatives to the public meeting.

“It is clear that Burnfoot residents have had enough and an honest admission by the police that they had let them down and could have done better, although providing small comfort, was welcomed.”

Tuesday’s meeting was at times heated but Mr McAteer is confident that locals are being listened to and that their concerns will be acted upon.

He added: “The promise of a more robust police approach aligned to the various actions described by the multi-agency partners should convince residents that their fears and concerns are being taken seriously.

Mr McAteer said that the prospect of a further multi-agency meeting is to be welcomed and he encouraged residents to turn up and highlight their concerns.

He continued: “Some excellent initiatives and offers of support were made at Tuesday’s meeting and both Stuart Marshall and I look forward to seeing positive progress and welcome the prospect of a further public meeting in a couple of months’ time.”