Police tackling youth disorder outbreak

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Action is being taken to stamp out an outbreak of anti-social behaviour in Kelso being blamed on unruly youths.

The parents of 20 young people are to get a visit from police officers in the coming days as the force looks to tackle a spate of incidents of disorder hitting the town.

That move comes after two cases of vandalism at the old high school site in Bowmont Street, a report of youth assault and six incidents of youths throwing objects at cars in April.

Speaking at Kelso Community Council’s meeting last week, constable Suzanne Howgego said that there had also been issues with young people causing trouble during this year’s Kelso Sevens rugby tournament on Saturday, May 5.

“We had a few calls at Kelso Sevens regarding youth issues which sadly meant police attention was taken away from the sevens,” she said.

“In five years of being here, this is the only time I can say we have got a bit of a youth issue in regards to anti-social behaviour, and the last month has been a peak.”

However she assured councillors that action was being taken. “We are already pursuing it,” she said. “There are 20 youths to be spoken to this week regarding vandalism at Kelso High School.

“There’s going to be knocks on 20 doors, and I think there are going to be some pretty shocked parents.

“It’s quite a big thing to have the police come to your door so hopefully that will help nip it in the bud.”

Addressing reports of youths allegedly throwing items at cars in the town’s Shedden Park on April 1 and 22, in Rose Lane on April 12, Tait Hall and Inchmyre on April 22 and in Croft Road on April 27, a Police Scotland spokesman said that a youth community officer will be patrolling the town at relevant times to deter further incidents.

The spokesperson added: “The newly formed community action team will be also be involved in these patrols to assist in identifying those responsible.

“These sort of crimes are not only reckless but place the public at risk, and anyone who witnesses anyone throwing items at vehicles should contact police immediately.”

Pupils at the current Kelso High School in Angraflat Road have been suggested as culprits for the vandalism at its predecessor, but headteacher Jill Lothian was quick to defend the vast majority of the hundreds of children there.

She conceded that some “low-level destruction” had been caused by young people in the town but added: “We only have them between 9am and 3.45pm. It’s about how we deal with it as a community.

“As far as the behaviour of young people in Kelso High School goes, we’re talking about 2.7% of the school having a bit of a problem with inappropriate behaviour.

“It’s still a fantastic school, and I would hate for our reputation to be tarred.”