Police get message across to youngsters

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GRAMPIAN Police are working closely with the youth in Peterhead to help resolve any anti-social behaviour problems this Easter.

Through funding from the Aberdeenshire Community Safety Partnership Operation Haskier, a multi agency approach involving Aberdeenshire Council Licensing Standards Officers and Aberdeenshire Council Youth Workers, is intended to enhance community safety and prevent anti social behaviour.

The aim of the operation is not only to reduce anti-social behaviour in the Peterhead area, but also to form relationships between Police officers and youths, to offer them diversionary activities, detect offences and provide reassurance to the community.

Target areas included the town centre, Buchanhaven and Meethill amongst other streets, and Local Policing Officer George Nixon said that these areas are targeted because of historic incidents, “We aren’t just picking and choosing where to go”.

PC Nixon continued: “Thanks to information Grampian Police already have available, we are able to pinpoint areas where anti-social behaviour has appeared in the past.

“When we receive calls reporting this type of behaviour all of the information is logged, so we can have a record of target areas. It also means we aren’t on the lookout for problems in areas where they are unlikely to happen. Many of the calls we receive aren’t to report bad behaviour, we find a lot of youth groups congregate in particular areas when it’s lighter evenings and members of the public can find it intimidating or a nuisance.

“On the other hand, we’re finding that a lot of the youths are complaining to us about the lack of activities available, and that’s why we go into youth clubs and speak to both the youths and workers to try to find solutions to these problems. There are many clubs and activities that they don’t know about.”

Grampian Police are also hoping to reduce under age drinking with this operation, and alcohol found will be confiscated and records will be taken to monitor the problem.

The officers involved in this operation go out in pairs, some in plain clothes, some in high visibility jackets and others in unmarked cars.

“It’s about keeping a balance”, said PC Nixon.

“When youths see two policemen coming towards them the first thought is to run, so that’s why we have officers in plain clothes to reassure them that we are human beings, and it helps up build up rapport with the young ones. We want to be seen as approachable and if the youths are willing to speak to us now it can help in the future.

“On the other hand it’s reassuring for members of the community to know that there are officers on the go, ready to help with any problems if they arise.We can’t stop and speak to every youth on the street, and that’s why it’s purely a judgement call on the officers, and although we are trying to battle out bad behaviour I’d say that 99% of youths in Peterhead are receptive to the Police.”

Operation Haskier will continue until April 23.