Mounted police will continue patrols outside a Glasgow shopping centre after a spike in louts abusing restaurant staff and engaging in other anti-social behaviour.
Officers based in Pollok have deployed on horseback outside Silverburn Shopping Centre after a recent increase in problems that locals say left them feeling unsafe.
Greater Glasgow Police Division today told the Glasgow Times that ‘proactive deployments’ will remain in place over the coming weeks after a succesful trial period designed to provide community reassurance while the force grapples with the ongoing issues.
Chief Inspector Derrick Johnston, local area commander for Glasgow south west, says his officers are determined to beat the louts.
He added: “We are acutely aware of the disruptive effect of anti-social behaviour and disorder on businesses and visitors to Silverburn.
“Local officers are working closely with partners to address these issues and find meaningful solutions to direct our young people away from these mindless activities.
“Dedicated patrols are carried out in the area, making use of local and specialist resources, as well as engaging with young people and discouraging anti-social behaviour.”
CI Johnston however was quick to point out it is the minority rather than the majority who are causing concern.
He said: "It is worth stressing that most young people do not come to the attention of police, but we know that a small section become involved in anti-social behaviour and their actions can have a negative impact on the lives of local residents and businesses.
"We are committed to encouraging people away from this but will take appropriate action where incidents are reported and offenders identified.”
The top cop also called on parents to play their part in helping to bring the problem under control, adding: “I would also urge mums, dads and guardians to make sure that they know where their children are, who they are associating with and what they are doing.
"Anyone who has concerns about anti-social behaviour is encouraged to contact police by calling 101 as promptly as possible."
The move comes just weeks after a 13-year-old boy was arrested at the centre after allegedly trying to go inside armed with a baseball bat, while back in April, First Bus threatened to halt a range of evening services operating in the area due to a rise in arson attacks on its fleet.
We visited the centre after dark and witnessed groups of youths continuing to congregate in the car park close to the entrance to Five Guys, McDonalds and Subway.
One resident, who lives nearby, told us: “It’s quite an intimidating to see large groups hanging around and causing trouble. I’m glad to hear the police are continuing to take this seriously, but a lot of them are under 16, what can officers really do apart from take them home and give them a proper telling off? They have their work cut out.”
In March, gangs of youths made headlines for terrorising staff at a McDonald’s at the rear entrance to the complex, subjecting them to both racist taunts and physical attacks. Bosses at the fast food restaurant also told how the yobs smashed windows and vandalised the premises, as well as intimidating customers as they tried to go inside.
A spokesperson for Silverburn said: “We welcome the increased police presence as we work with our partners on activity taking place outside of the centre. The continued safety and security of our tenants and guests is paramount.”