Midlothian councillors to consider reinstating Community Safety Officers

Pensioners and families are living in fear in Midlothian communities because of a rise in antisocial behaviour, councillors have been told.

Wednesday, 6th October 2021, 12:30 pm
Midlothian councillors unanimously backed a call for more action to be taken to tackle violence and vandalism in the county.

Midlothian councillors unanimously backed a call for more action to be taken to tackle violence and vandalism in the county.

And Councillor Colin Cassidy said the motion put forward by fellow SNP councillor Debbi McCall was the most welcome one he had heard in four years as a councillor.

He told a virtual meeting of the local authority: “I have pensioners and families in my own ward living in fear who need protection.

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“We need to work with Police Scotland to bring back protection to our communities.”

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Councillor McCall’s motion called for the reinstatement of community safety officers, which were disbanded in 2019, to be considered by officials and a report brought to council to look at options.

The motion said: “Whilst appropriate enforcement action should always be pursued rigorously by all partners involved, the prevention of anti social behaviour and de-escalation of antisocial behaviours could potentially save resources and distress to Midlothian residents.

“The council will bring forward a paper to the next full council to establish a business case for investing in measures to address and prevent antisocial behaviour, including an option to reinstate Community Safety Officers.”

A report to the council’s police and fire rescue board in May revealed that anti-social behaviour incidents in the county rose by 32 percent in 2020/21, although it pointed out that reports relating to potential lockdown breaches were included and contributed to the increase.

Community Safety Officers are employed by the council and work alongside police patrolling communities to tackle antisocial behaviour and reduce crime.