Police warning as school holidays begin

West Sands, St Andrews
West Sands, St Andrews
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Police in Fife are asking parents and guardians to ensure they know what the children or young person in their care is going to be doing and where they will be on the last day of school term.

As part of Police Scotland’s Campaign Against Violence initiative extra police resources will be deployed tomorrow (Friday).

PC Paul Buttercase, Community Safety Officer for north east Fife area, said: “In recent years it has become a tradition for pupils from high schools across Fife to celebrate the last day of term by arranging to congregate in particular areas and consume alcohol. This is often in great quantities with the inevitable result of disorder and risk to their safety.

“Police Scotland obviously has to consider the legal implications of young people who are below the legal age for drinking alcohol, and who are in breach of local bye-laws by drinking in public. Our main concern, however, is the well-being of the young people and keeping both them and the community safe.

“In north east Fife young people have traditionally congregated at the West Sands in St Andrews, and a combination of sun, sea and alcohol can be a dangerous combination.

“In the past, we have had to deal with incidents involving young people being hospitalised through drinking too much, and on one occasion, a young woman had to be rescured from the sea while heavily under the influence of alcohol, with a potentially tragic outcome.

“During Child Safety Week we have been working with partners and visiting the High Schools in the area with the Mobile Alcohol & Intervention Team vehicle. We have been highlighting the issues and encouraging safe behaviour but also making clear the consequences if young people are found in possession, or under the influence, of alcohol.

“I would also encourage off-sales premises to be aware of an increase in potential attempts by young people to purchase alcohol or of adults doing so by proxy on their behalf.”

North East Fife Area Commander, Chief Inspector Jill Harper, said: “Although our main focus tomorrow will be on keeping people safe, my officers will be enforcing local bye laws and robustly tackling any issues over the illegal sale and consumption of alcohol.

“Police will be supported by additional staff through our Campaign Against Violence initiative and anyone under the age of 16 found by officers while under the influence of alcohol will have to be collected by their parent or guardian.

“I would encourage parents and guardians to ensure they are aware of what their child is doing tomorrow, and where possible, organise some form of supervised activity or celebration to ensure that our young people can enjoy the end of term safely.”