Summit arranged to address residents’ concerns over antisocial youths

POLICE, education and community representatives in Selkirk are to meet next month to discuss how to combat increased incidents of youth antisocial behaviour in the town.

It will take place in Rowlands Dry Bar in West Port on Wednesday, March 9.

The meeting has been brokered by the community council which met last week and heard from Selkirk residents who claimed they were at the end of their tether with the antics of local youngsters.

“This is clearly an ongoing and increasing problem for those living at the east end of the High Street and lower Back Row,” admitted community council secretary David Bethune.

He was commenting after a group of six householders from that area of the town used the open forum of the meeting to highlight the incidents and claim that the police were not treating the issue as seriously as it deserved.

The residents said their lives were being made a misery by large groups of youths congregating below the chestnut tree in the grounds of Mungo Park Court and in front of Sainsbury’s store across the road.

They described incidents of noise, vandalism, graffiti and litter, with the perpetrators kicking balls across the street, banging on the windows of houses, swearing and even urinating in public.

Mr Bethune told TheSouthern: “The residents told us the problem was particularly serious on Friday and Saturday nights with groups of 30 or more youngsters in the area from 7pm until midnight.

“They said the problem also occurs most lunchtimes during the school term and at any time of day during the school holidays, and believe the situation has become worse as a result of the late opening of Sainsbury’s.”

The meeting heard that incidents had been reported to the police whose reaction, according to the residents, had been “unsatisfactory at best”.

And one householder claimed to have seen a police officer cleaning up graffiti himself.

After considering the complaints, the community council charged Mr Bethune on its behalf to make “strong representations to the police, calling for a more consistent and pro-active approach”.

The council also endorsed contact with Selkirk High School “asking them to take any action within their powers” and urged that residents continue to report incidents to the police, making sure to ask for an incident number when doing so.

But this week, community council chairman Gordon Edgar confirmed that representatives of the school and the police had agreed to attend the special meeting to discuss all aspects of youth disorder in the town.