Three months on from their national TV debuts, the Community Safety Team continue to ensure that the region continues to be one of the safest places to live in Scotland.
The Officers are out every day, patrolling the region in high visibility clothing. Their fleet of cars are fully liveried cars are out and about on our roads.
Community Safety Officers and Community Safety Enforcement Officers are based at four locations (Lockerbie, Dumfries, Castle Douglas and Stranraer) throughout Dumfries and Galloway. The team responds to community concerns and has responsibility for tackling a host of community related problems such as Antisocial Behaviour, Dog Fouling, Littering and Fly Tipping. In addition, the problems of Abandoned Vehicles and Noise Nuisance provide a varied workload for the officers.
However, arguably the most vital service the team carry out is the recovery of discarded needles. Keeping our play parks and public spaces clean of used needles allows our children to play safely in the parks around the region. In just one month, over 100 syringes were removed from public places by the Team.
In the last year alone the officers have dealt with nearly 4,500 reported incidents, with an overall customer satisfaction rate of 92%. The recent Community Safety Survey results showed that 98% of residents feel safe in their local neighbourhoods. What could seem like a minor issue to some could be a big deal to someone else. Our Community Safety Team is on hand to address problems, or, in some cases, apply common sense or provide mediation to people, so that they can sort issues out for themselves. Community Safety and enforcement was cast into the national eye recently on ITV’s ‘The inspectors Are Coming’ documentary. Shown on ITV 1 on a Tuesday prime-time slot, the show followed the Council’s team (and other local authorities across the UK) around on their patrols.
Although the team is a Council Service, they work closely with the Police. In fact the Police often contact the team to help with cases of missing people, as Community Safety Officers are able to actively look during the course of their duties.
The team also work closely with the police.
They help to combat antisocial behaviour in youths, particularly concerning incidents of vandalism and graffiti.
Routinely the Officers are out patrolling on public footpaths, parks and estates to try and tackle the issue of dog fouling. The number of Dog Fouling Fixed Penalty Notices issued has increased by 28% on 2014/15. They will then turn their attention to patrolling other local areas, but are very much driven with what is happening at that time as each day presents different issues to address.
Councillor Tom McAughtrie, Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee said: “I cannot stress strongly enough that the Community Safety Team improve people’s quality of life and provide an extremely important Service. There is a misconception that our Officers are only there handing out Fixed Penalty Notices, but there is so much more to the work the team does to ensure the safety and security on our streets. I for one am very grateful to them for the safety, security and peace of mind they provide to everyone in our communities.
“I would encourage anyone who wishes to report vandalism, graffiti, noise nuisance or anything else covered by the team to report it via the website or by giving the team a call on 030 33 33 3000. Now that our guys have been on the telly, the public will realise they are very approachable and carry out an effective role.