Plea for urgent action over Renfrew skate park yobs

Police and council chiefs are coming under increased pressure to tackle a rise in anti-social behaviour at a Renfrew skate park.

Reports have emerged of youths throwing eggs at cars and buses as well as other children at the Robertson Park site after the coronavirus pandemic led to a delay in CCTV cameras being installed.

Renfrew North and Braehead councillor John Shaw has become the latest elected member to highlight the problem, after Tory member Jane Strang urged police to up their patrols around the area earlier this week.

Councillor Shaw has this week held a meeting with local cops and the council’s director of environment and communities, Gordon McNeil, to discuss the ongoing issue.

There have also been fears raised about yobs setting bins on fire and breaking windows around the Nethergreen area of town.

Councillor Shaw said although efforts had been made by the local authority and police to put an end to the trouble, more solutions needed to be explored.

He said on social media: “I’ve had several concerns raised over the past few days about some unsavoury goings-on connected to the skate park.

“Although there have been increased patrols by wardens and the police in recent months, it’s clear other solutions need to be considered. To that end, I arranged a meeting with the director of environment and communities and the local community police.

“I had secured funding last year for lighting and CCTV in the park but unfortunately this had been delayed due to the pandemic and contracts being put on hold. It is moving again though and I am just waiting for a date on when this is likely to go live.

“The skate park is an amazing facility which has been used by thousands of young people over the years and it is regrettable the experience is being ruined by a minority just now.”

When the CCTV is installed, one of the cameras is set to be placed between the bowling green and the skate park, which will be connected directly to the control room in Paisley, enabling activity to be watched live.

Police have said they are following up leads with some local schoolkids who they believe may be responsible for some incidents, but have insisted the anti-social behaviour is “low-level”.

Council bosses have said they have increased their evening warden patrols and a CCTV van is set to be deployed around the area alongside the permanent cameras due to be installed.

A council spokesman said: “We are working to address reports of anti-social behaviour in this area and council officers met with Police Scotland and Councillor Shaw yesterday morning to agree a number of actions moving forward.

“We have increased our evening warden patrols and Police Scotland will also have an additional presence in the area to deter this activity from taking place.

“Permanent CCTV is due to be installed as a further measure in tackling anti-social behaviour and our mobile CCTV van will also be regularly deployed in and around the park.

“The skate park is a popular, well-used facility in Renfrewshire, but we need all who use it to respect others and we will continue to do all we can to ensure it remains safe for all residents and visitors.”

Daily Record – Paisley