Council to pay for more bobbies on beat in Borders

Former Borders police chief Watson McAteer.
Former Borders police chief Watson McAteer.

Bobbies on the beat-type policing is set to make a return in the region now Scottish Borders Council has agreed to pay for six officers and a sergeant.

The new community policing team will be deployed to target local issues under the direction of the council, which has pledged £282,000 for the scheme in its latest budget.

The team will work with locality committees and elected members, and it will seek to prevent low-level crime and tackle issues such as selfish parking and anti-social behaviour.

Council leader Shona Haslam said the authority’s administration wants to bring back community policing after the “failed experiment” that is Police Scotland.

“When I was campaigning before the election in May, people told me that they want the council to start tackling anti social behaviour,” she told a full council meeting called on Tuesday to set next year’s budget.

“We are committing £282,000 to deliver six officers and a sergeant that will be locally tasked to do community policing.

“They will become well-kent faces in our communities and will soon get to know the well-kent faces in our towns.”

Welcoming the initiative, former police commander and Hawick councillor Watson McAteer said: “We have all struggled to come to terms with Borders Police being replaced by Police Scotland and a simple lack of officers patrolling our streets.”

He added: “Our current local officers do a great job despite this.”