Christine Jardine calls for investment in young people to stop antisocial behaviour in West Edinburgh
Calls for greater investment in our youth in West Edinburgh has been called for by Christine Jardne, the MP for Edinburgh West.
The Liberal Democrat is calling on the Scottish Government and local authority to invest in more preventative measures to ensure a proactive approach is sought over the current reactive one.
The North West of Edinburgh has seen a considerable rise in anti-social behaviour in recent weeks with reports of gangs careering across public parks on off-road bikes, groups of youths with baseball bats wearing balaclava’s and bus drivers being attacked with bricks.
As a result the MP has said that although police work in the area is valued and welcomed, it cannot act as a solution to the causes of antisocial behaviour.
She pointed to historic funding cuts for local authorities by the SNP in Holyrood and raised the prospect that the lack of resources for youth centres and other third sector organisations could be behind the rise in this behaviour.
Jardine said: “Young people have had it particularly difficult during the lockdown and at times pressure can build up. But that is not to excuse their actions.
“We have seen antisocial behaviour of this nature before in North Edinburgh. It is unpleasant for people having to live in tough conditions with lockdown not seeing families but to have to contend with antisocial behaviour is unacceptable.
“The police have assured me that they are aware of the problem and are putting practices in place to deal with the issue but the solution cannot lie with the police alone.
“The Liberal Democrats are committed to ensuring that societal needs are met that will lead to a reduction in antisocial behaviour. As the sad reality is that antisocial behaviour can not only ruin the lives of those facing criminal charges but those on the receiving end of the behaviour. We have to invest in facilities and programmes which will prevent that from happening by giving kids opportunities and activities.
“We have seen significant cuts to council budgets over the last 14 years under the SNP. They said they'd get rid of council tax and instead we have seen it frozen. This means we pay less in council tax but have less funding for tackling antisocial behaviour.”
Chief Inspector Sarah Taylor, Local Area Commander for North West Edinburgh, said: “Antisocial behaviour has no place in our community and it is disappointing to see youths engaging in this senseless and reckless criminality.
“We have stepped up dedicated patrols in areas where there have been ongoing issues, including Clermiston, to provide reassurance as well as engaging with local youths and the wider community.
“Officers have also undertaken letter drops to residents regarding issues such as illegal bike use and drugs misuse and we would urge anyone with information to get in touch in order for us to put a stop to these activities.
“We are also liaising with local youth services, which are absolutely vital to the community, to ensure they are able to recommence as soon as regulations allow.
“Officers will continue to engage proactively with the community and we would urge anyone with information or concerns about antisocial behaviour to contact Police Scotland through 101. Alternatively you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."