By Monica Gibson

THE Barrhead community “must be vigilant” against anti-social behaviour as nights become darker – despite the effectiveness of recent increased patrols.

As reported in the Barrhead News, sections of the community – especially the elderly – have been “living in fear” due to problems caused by unruly youths across the town.

In response, police ramped up high-visibility patrols to deter anti-social behaviour, which officers say have proved effective.

However, police say the public must still play its part to help officers in the ongoing battle.

Sergeant Michael Morgenthaler said: “Deployment of officers can change quite quickly, depending on circumstances.

“The point is that the issue of anti-social behaviour in Barrhead is on our radar.

“We are aware that it is a concern among members of the public, we listened and we responded to that.”

The sergeant, who likened positioning patrols to a “big game of chess”, added: “We would like to have patrols in all areas at all times but we need to make decisions on the appropriate place where best to deploy the officers we have.

“Experience tells us that high-visibility patrols do act as a deterrent but, unfortunately, we cannot be everywhere at once, so there is a huge process behind the scenes as we review complaints and crimes.

“This is monitored on a daily basis.”

Rosaleen Reilly, chairperson of Barrhead Community Council, recently urged people not to be afraid to report incidents, especially vandalism by unruly youngsters.

And she has praised the police for responding to concerns of townsfolks.

She told the Barrhead News: “I can only say that the police have been paying attention to our concerns, especially regarding youth vandalism.

“Month after month, they come to our meetings with their police reports and listen to our concerns.

“I do think there has been a reduction in incidents but I also think we have to be extra vigilant as we go into the winter months.

“We don’t want people thinking they can get up to no good under the cover of darkness.

“It is certainly something the community council will be monitoring.”

Anyone with concerns about anti-social behaviour is urged to call the police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.