Police launch crackdown on rowdy youths

Police carried out a crackdown on rowdy youths at the weekend after a group of 60 gathered in Kelso town centre were reported to be causing a disturbance.

By Paul Kelly
Wednesday, 16th September 2020, 4:12 pm
Kelso provost Dean Weatherston.
Kelso provost Dean Weatherston.

Over recent weekends, youngsters in their mid to late teens have been congregating in Kelso Square and the town’s Horsemarket and Shedden Park, allegedly generating a din and creating an intimidating atmosphere.

Matters came to a head on Saturday night when officers attended to move youths on and give advice on social distancing rules.

One 15-year-old boy was arrested in connection with a breach of the peace and a quantity of alcohol was seized.

Action was taken amid growing public unrest over large numbers of young people hanging around the centre late at night while shouting loudly, kicking bins, drinking alcohol and generally making nuisances of themselves.

Their behaviour was a cause of particular concern given the contravention of social distancing guidance at a time when coronavirus cases are back on the up.

Town provost and Kelso community councillor Dean Weatherston said: “It’s been in the past few weekends that there has been a lot of teenagers and young adults congregating in large groups in the town centre and Shedden Park.

“One of the real problem was the volume they were creating in the town centre.

“There is a group of them and they are predominantly 15, 16 and 17 year-olds, about 50 or 60 of them, and because of the size of that group, when there are coronavirus restrictions in place, a lot of people have been finding it quite intimidating and completely irresponsible as well.

“The new rule of six came into force on Monday, but it was to be followed from last Thursday, so it was good to see that the police were out on Saturday night and took some action.

“They are all local kids, and on Saturday night there were also some parents out because the word had got out and parents went into the town centre and took them home as well.

“A lot of this behaviour is probably down to boredom because there’s very little they are allowed to do just now, and I suspect as well that because no action had been taken over previous weeks, they felt they had a free rein to do what they wanted as well.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “We received reports of youths gathering in the square, Horsemarket and Shedden Park areas of Kelso during the evening of Saturday, September 12, 2020, between 10pm and 11pm.

“Officers attended, advice was given and those involved moved on.

“One 15-year-old male youth was arrested in connection with a breach of the peace.

“Youths were spoken to and quantity of alcohol seized which has been sent for destruction.”