Concerns have been raised after the number of complaints made to police about anti-social behaviour in East Renfrewshire more than doubled during lockdown. 

There were 1,152 calls between the start of April and the end of June this year, compared to 549 during the same period in 2019.

The figures are being presented to East Renfrewshire Council this week.

Many calls were made due to non-compliance with coronavirus guidance, such as house parties and large gatherings.

In a report to councillors, Chief Superintendent Hazel Hendren states: “Reducing anti-social behaviour (ASB) remains a community priority and we continue to focus efforts on preventing disorder.

“Whilst the number of ASB calls have more than doubled, it is important to note that a large volume of calls were made to the police in relation to non-compliance with Scottish Government legislation and guidance on coronavirus.

“These reports included people not socially distancing, holding parties within houses and gardens, and large groups gathering in parks and open spaces.

“However, there were increased reports of antisocial behaviour and disorder across the area. These reports became more prevalent as lockdown eased.”

Barrhead’s MSP, Tom Arthur, described the increase in complaints about anti-social behaviour as “a real cause for concern.”

“This behaviour is unacceptable in any case but, during a public health emergency, acting in a disruptive and unsafe way puts everyone at risk,” said Mr Arthur, who represents the Renfrewshire South constituency.

“In order to protect those we care about, we all have to follow the guidelines and reduce the ability of the virus to find routes of transmission.”

Ms Hendren also revealed police had “enhanced” their disorder action plan, with a focus on parks and open spaces across East Renfrewshire.

She added: “We also ensured that our patrol plan included built-up areas.”

The Chief Superintendent said policing has had to adapt due to the pandemic.

“We did this to protect the communities that we work within and to protect our own staff, to ensure that we had sufficient resources available to respond to any incidents reported,” said Ms Hendren.

“Our teams adapted quickly and I am pleased to report that the morale of our teams remained high, despite the challenges that were presented.”

Policing teams aimed to maintain a high-visibility across East Renfrewshire in order to “reassure the public.”

Ms Hendren said: “Our policing style in response to coronavirus legislation has been centred on the 4Es – Engage, Explain, Encourage and Enforce.

“This approach has worked well in East Renfrewshire, where compliance has generally been high, with a relatively small number of offences detected.

“We have continued with this approach as lockdown has eased.”