Free bus pass scheme not to blame for youth disorder in Fife town says top cop

Archive pic: TSPLArchive pic: TSPL
Archive pic: TSPL
The Scottish Government's free youth bus pass scheme is not at the heart of increased anti-social behaviour in Glenerothes, according to a senior police officer.

Glenrothes Community Inspector, Kirk Donnelly told the town's area committee councillors last Wednesday that troublemakers would find their way around Fife regardless of the scheme. He also emphasised that the number of people abusing the scheme is “minute.”

Inspector Donnelly's comments came after Kirkcaldy area councillors accused the scheme of causing “significant problems” earlier this week.

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However, Inspector Donnelly emphasised that, in his opinion, the scheme is not to blame.

“It’s a very small number of people abusing the scheme. If I'm being honest, the troublemakers would get to Glenrothes by some method anyway. If you give anybody something for free, there is always going to be a handful of people abusing it,” he said.

“The scheme has transported some individuals into Glenrothes, but I wouldn’t say that’s where the significant problem is. The significant problem in Glenrothes is its own people.”

He continued: “It’s small numbers coming in on buses. What’s happening is that they are clashing with the local youth. If I can get my Glenrothes youths under control, then I’ll eliminate the problem.”

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Last week, Kirkcaldy’s Ian Cameron (Labour), blamed the bus passes for causing significant problems such as increases in anti-social behaviour and crimes of dishonesty.

Tory member Kathleen Leslie for Burntisland, Kinghorn, and Western Kirkcaldy, acknowledged that the majority of young people using the scheme are not causing problems, but emphasised the need to “get it right for everyone.” She also suggested limiting the bus passes on evenings and weekends outwith school times.

Cllr Walker said he had been “slightly disappointed” to hear the comments from Kirkcaldy colleagues, and welcomed Inspector Donnelly’s opinion.

“We’re talking about a vital service for people from low income families of which we’ve got a lot of in Glenrothes. It’s helping our youngsters get around and do what they need to do,” he said.

“There are potentially some law breaking citizens using the bus service, but it is a small, small number causing these disturbances.”