Nightly security guard patrols have been removed from Dundee city centre, The Courier understands. Guards have patrolled City Square and the surrounding area on 12 hour shifts for several years. Patrollers were asked to check in at points throughout the centre while attempting to curb anti social behaviour.
Now it s claimed the patrols have been dropped by Dundee City Council. Night shift cover on the council s Dundee House building has also been removed, it s said. Dundee City Council refused to elaborate on the reported changes, citing security reasons for the refusal.
However the administration notes changes to security arrangements at Dundee House and City Square in its annual budget report. The changes, the administration claims, will involve improved risk management and more effective use of technology (which) will enable increased efficiency in this area . But The Courier has been informed by an industry source that a long-standing security arrangement for guards to patrol both the city centre and Dundee House has been withdrawn.
In 2014, figures emerged showing the council spends around 40,000 every year on security guards for City Square. At the time, Councillor Will Dawson, city development convener, said: Costs of vandalism and graffiti have greatly reduced since security was introduced at City Square.
The presence of security helps to protect property, while offering reassurance for staff who work in the square. Earlier this month, figures were published showing the administration has spent 250,000 on maintaining CCTV cameras in Dundee over the last four years.
In the last financial year alone, the council paid 69,371.33 refurbishing some of its 87 cameras. The most recent update from the local authority shows there are currently five with minor faults which are not working. The peak expenditure came in 2013/14 when 74,046.12 was spent maintaining the cameras
Commenting on the figures, Daniel Nesbitt, research director of Big Brother Watch,said: Dundee City Council should be regularly reviewing its CCTV network and if the cameras aren t making a difference then they should be scaled back.
Improved security measures at a vandal-hit Fife school should be discussed as a matter of urgency, according to local parents. Pitcoudie Primary School in Glenrothes has been targeted by vandals and thieves in the past month, with police currently probing the theft of nine laptop computers with an estimated value of more than 8,000. The break-in by two hooded men on November 20 came just days after the school s community garden was targeted by local youths.
Planters and two benches including a memorial to pupil Logan Carrie, who was killed crossing the A92 last year, were destroyed. Fed up mums and dads have now had enough of seeing their youngsters come home heartbroken and have demanded firm action. Councillor Fiona Grant said: Members of the public tell me that several suggestions for improved security were vetoed on human rights grounds or expense.
I will be pressing Fife Council to prioritise the rights of innocent school children not to see their garden space or memorial area vandalised over the rights of a member of the public who chooses to walk through school grounds.
As for expense, repairing damage and replacing items costs anyway, improved security should be considered spend to save.
I look forward to working with the school community, police and council staff to better protect the school.
Local MSP Jenny Gilruth said she was saddened and appalled to hear what had happened.
I have made contact with the school itself to express my sympathies and I have also been liaising with Police Scotland, she said.
I would urge anyone in my constituency who has any information to come forward and inform the police immediately so that the culprits can be caught. Local woman Alison McIntyre, 46, whose youngest son Ronnie, 7, is in primary 3 at Pitcoudie said: I think there needs to be some sort of meeting to sort out the security.
There is CCTV there but they are saying it s rubbish and it s really grainy, so why can t they upgrade it ? What s the point in having it then?
I ve heard about the human rights argument but if these people are breaking into a primary school they need to be held responsible for their actions and feel ashamed.
Neil Finnie, Fife Council s senior compliance officer, said: Fife Council takes the issue of vandalism in our schools extremely seriously, as it can cause real disruption in our school communities.
We are already looking at what next steps to take in response to the recent vandalism at Pitcoudie, including measures to prevent future incidents wherever possible.
Fife Council continues to work with the school community, parents and police to better protect the school and we are examining appropriate crime prevention tactics.
Vandalism to any of our schools is completely unacceptable and it is very disappointing for pupils and the local community.
We urge anyone who sees any untoward activity to contact Police Scotland.