Kennoway public vent feelings over thuggish yobs

Kennoway public meeting being held to discuss anti-social behaviour. Picture by George McLuskie.
Kennoway public meeting being held to discuss anti-social behaviour. Picture by George McLuskie.

Community leaders in Kennoway pledged to listen to local people and take forward their concerns over disorder, violence and yobbish mobs blighting the village.

Around 130 people attended an often heated public meeting on Monday evening in the Sandy Brae Centre, called to discuss possible solutions to escalating youth disorder and physical attacks.

Fears had been heightened by an incident in the town centre last month, which later led to a serious assault.

Police faced criticism over the way the response to that incident was handled, and heard there was a worrying nastiness to the trouble, which had been going on for a long time.

Some people admitted they were scared to report incidents to police for fear of reprisals.

Among many points raised, audience members said police appeared to know who the core troublemakers were, yet they seemed to be moving freely, while others sensed a lack of communication among the police hierarchy.

We need to get a more visible police presence on the streets, but that is down to Police Scotland

Cllr Tom Adams

Others asked how long a recently-increased police presence in the village would last, while there was criticism about mobile CCTV cameras not having worked for months.

Of the hooligan element, one man told police: “They are nothing short of barbaric thugs and you need to deal with it.”

Community Inspector Tom Brown said police had to deal with a high volume of incidents over a wide area, and worked with a graded call system.

There had been changes under Police Scotland, he added, but while it meant a reduction in community officers, there were larger response teams.

He said some audience members’ comments were “perpetuating a fear of crime which does not exist”, while he and chairman Councillor Tom Adams said there had to be some parental responsibility in quelling anti-social behaviour.

Insp Brown said “99.9 per cent” of those involved in Kennoway’s disorder were local, with social media a big factor in its origin.

There was a police commitment to tackle the issue educationally, he added, through contact with school pupils.

He said the heightened police presence in Kennoway would continue “for the foreseeable future” and the issue of anti-social behaviour was managed on a daily basis.

Afterwards, Cllr Adams said the high attendance figure showed there was a problem, and it would be actively looked at.

“We need to get a more visible police presence on the streets, but that is down to Police Scotland,” he added.

Cllr David Alexander appealed to people to report incidents and not “sit in silence”.