Debate on meeting format

Police will attend ward meetings and community council meetings instead
Police will attend ward meetings and community council meetings instead

There was disagreement at last week’s Levenmouth area committee as councillors debated proposed changes to local community engagement meetings.

Currently, the meetings take place every two months at Arden House in Leven and follow a structured schedule of items for discussion.

I’m not happy with this. I think it’s a backward step by getting rid of these meetings

Councillor Tom Adams

However, it has been proposed that this structure should cease, instead organising ‘themed’ meetings on an ‘as and when’ basis to address specific issues.

Police and officers from the relevant council services would be there to work in partnership.

It is also proposed that community police officers attend ward meetings and/or community council meetings to discuss local issues.

If accepted, the proposals would be put in place around November or December, and any further meetings would be arranged with at least four weeks’ notice.

Councillor Tom Adams, chairman of the Levenmouth area committee, voiced his concern about changes to the current system.

He said: “I’m not happy with this. I think it’s a backward step by getting rid of these meetings and I don’t think the police have the resources right now to attend community council meetings.”

Cllr Jim Young agreed that it was “a step backward”, while Cllr John O’Brien said: “People are quite happy with the police surgeries which have been taking place during the day. And, really, we don’t have very many community councils - there’s only East Wemyss and Leven, we don’t have one in Methil. I’m happy with the way they are acting right now - I would just like to see more police on the streets.”

However, Cllrs Alistair Hunter and David Alexander were in agreement that the current system should cease.

“These community meetings were groundbreaking, but they just turned into the same people turning up discussing the same issues. The meetings wer failing,” said Cllr Alexander.

Cllr Hunter said: “They were great to start with but by the end it was just grumbling along.

“I think we have been trying to design meetings on a historical model of what community was 30 years ago - we have to go looking for that voice at a much closer level instead of saying ‘What does Buckhaven think?’ Communities are happening at a much more local level now.”