May the Force be with you ...

High visibility patrols are being stepped up to try to address anti-social behaviour
High visibility patrols are being stepped up to try to address anti-social behaviour

Duffus Park in Cupar has been named as a ‘hotspot’ for anti-social behaviour in the town in a new report by north east Fife’s top policeman.

The report, which covers the eight months from May to December last year, was given to members of north east Fife area committee by Chief Inspector Adrian Annandale, area commander for north east Fife.

He told members that patrols had been stepped up in the area of the park in a bid to tackle the problem and that representatives from Howe of Fife Rugby Club had met with local young people to let them know the impact it was having on their club.

In addition, officers operating under the Campaign Against Violence initiative stepped up patrols where youths were congregating to drink and take drugs - resulting in a 70 per cent drop in calls relating to anti-social behaviour.

In total, more than 120 incidents of anti-social behaviour were reported in Cupar over the eight months - a large number of them within private houses.

But they also included a report of rape in the Ceres Road area and a public indecency offence within Elmwood College.

Anti-social behaviour also proved to be a problem in Ladybank, with groups of young people congregating in the street and ringing doorbells at a sheltered housing complex.

Chief Inspector Annandale said that high visibility patrols were also being carried out in this area and that a ‘stop and search’ policy that’s currently being piloted in Fife had been welcomed by local residents.

In addition, he said that the extension of by-laws to communities in the Howe preventing drinking in public places had proved ‘helpful’.

During May, drugs worth £70,000 were recovered from two houses in Cupar, thanks to local intelligence.

And in June, there were allegations of assault, robbery and a rape in Newburgh, for which the perpetrators were caught and jailed.

Another serious incident happened in Cupar in September, when a lone 37-year-old woman was subjected to an unprovoked attack in the town centre, during which she was struck several times in the face with a weapon and repeatedly punched.

There were no witnesses but after extensive enquiries the 18-year-old assailant was traced and is now behind bars.

However, throughout north east Fife it was driver behaviour that caused most concern among members of the public .

Between May and June there were five road crash deaths in the area, including a double fatality on the Auchtermuchty to Gateside road, when a 54-year-old man and his 14-year-old son were killed.

In Cupar, 64 driving offences were recorded, including 14 speeding offences.

Community Speedwatch were deployed on more than 20 occasions and 200 warning letters were sent out.

“Directed stop points continue to be utilised within the ward to target offending drivers and also travelling criminals targeting the area for dishonesties,” said Chief Inspector Annandale.

“In the months ahead, we are in consultation with our partner agencies regarding the possibility of running a local driver awareness event similar to the ‘Cut it Out’ event staged in May.”

The event, held in Fluthers car park, included a mock road traffic collision with casualties.