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High visibility patrols to curb antisocial behaviour in Wick

By David G Scott

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AFTER Friday's Groat reported on public concerns over antisocial behaviour in Wick's Dunnett Avenue, Police Scotland have now issued a stark warning to the perpetrators and have ramped up "high visibility patrols" in the area.

The article focussed on the town's Dunnett Avenue where the issue had "gone beyond the pale" and been steadily worsening over the last six months, according to an unnamed resident – who did not want to be identified for fear of repercussions.

Vandalised property in Dunnet Avenue in Wick.
Vandalised property in Dunnet Avenue in Wick.

Police Scotland had been aware of the concerns and had already issued a letter to residents in the neighbourhood but on Friday it issued a stark warning to help curb the spate of criminal activity.

Sergeant Alastair Bryce said: ""Anti-social behaviour is unacceptable, no matter what form it takes. It causes unnecessary concern and alarm among the law-abiding community who should be able to feel safe in their own neighbourhood.

" I would like to reassure local residents that we are working closely with partners from the Highland Council to deal with these recent incidents and prevent further antisocial behaviour in the longer term."

Police officers had been called to a number of reports of disorder and vandalism in the area in recent weeks. A 31-year-old man was charged and subsequently appeared at Wick Sheriff Court in connection with an alleged fire-raising incident in the area on Sunday, July 7.

Enquiries into other incidents remain ongoing and officers are now said to be carrying out "highly visible patrols in the area". Police Scotland said it is also working with Highland Council to address the issue.

A boarded up property with the remains of a gate allegedly torched.
A boarded up property with the remains of a gate allegedly torched.

The unnamed resident who spoke to the Groat had said the problem was "serious and escalating" and claimed that people had complained to Highland Council but felt "nothing was being done".

"This antisocial behaviour has been been ongoing for a couple of years but has been getting worse in the past six months and was really bad last weekend. It has gone beyond the pale."

The person, who claims to speak for many others in Dunnett Avenue, found it "reassuring" to see an increase in motorised police patrols in the area but hopes to see more foot patrols.

"This is a reassuring policing strategy and is welcomed by residents. However, in terms of adopting a more effective tactical approach, consideration should be given to tasking officers to patrol on foot.

"There should be much closer liaising with the police by the Highland Council's antisocial behaviour officer and community wardens. This approach would deliver a more thorough, intelligence based policing presence that would not only serve to discourage and deter antisocial behaviour but detect the corresponding and alarming increase in criminal activity in the neighbourhood."

Sgt Bryce said: "Anyone identified as being involved in antisocial behaviour can expect to be robustly dealt with.

"Police Scotland urges people not to tolerate vandalism or antisocial behaviour but to report them by calling 101 as promptly as possible. You can also contact your housing provider where appropriate or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."

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