Youth initiative reduces vandalism

A youth initiative carried out by community planning partners in Banff and Buchan to reduce anti-social behaviour and vandalism in Macduff is hailed as a success as figures show a reduction in crime-levels.

Grampian Police in partnership with staff from Aberdeenshire Council’s community learning and development team worked with young people in the town on Friday and Saturday evenings as part of ‘Operation Aberfeldy’ during February and March.

The aim was to discourage anti social behaviour and to engage young people in activities in the area such as the Drop in Centre; the Jaffa/Jive Project; the Banff and Macduff music initiative; and Friday night football at Princess Royal Park.

The project was funded by the Aberdeenshire Community Safety Partnership as part of its action plan for 2011/12 and was initiated in response to local concerns.

Operation Aberfeldy has led to a reduction in vandalism by 75% in comparison to the previous five-week period and this has remained steady.

The number of disturbance and assault calls to the police has also decreased and local residents have provided feedback that they now feel reassured and safe as a result of the project taking place.

Local youth groups also reported healthy attendance levels during the duration of the project.

Chair of the Banff and Buchan Local Community Planning Group Margaret-Jane Cardno said: “Reports of groups of young people congregating around local shops as well as carrying out vandalism to cars and other property had been received by community partners.

“To solve these issues Operation Aberfeldy was established and is a perfect example of how working together to solve problems can reap results.

“The combination of police patrols and youth work has encouraged young people to look at how they behave and discourage them off the streets and into more fulfilling activities as well as reassuring the community their streets are safe.”

Local Policing Sergeant Ian Cameron stationed at Banff Police Office, said: “Throughout the initial project we found that the vast majority of young people are well behaved but the formation of such a group can often be intimidating to local people living in the area or visiting the local shops.

“The project helped them understand this and has led to a reduction in vandalism. We want to continue this good work.”