Pledge to work with Buckie young people after ongoing disorder incidents
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GANGS of youths have been wreaking havoc in an area of Buckie, with accusations of drug taking and selling as well as underage drinking.
The area adjacent to Buckie Community High School (BCHS), as well as to the school grounds itself, have been subject to ongoing complaints over the last couple of months of anti-social behaviour and vandalism by groups of under-16s numbering up to 100.
In their wake, the youths have left broken bottles, tins, blood and vomit soaked tissues as well as other rubbish.
The actions have been condemned by Buckie councillors Sonya Warren and Gordon Cowie.
They said: "There's a lot of fantastic work being done by the various partner agencies involved, with teams out on the streets engaging with young folk.
"The feedback we've been getting has been very positive to date.
"It's very important we work with young people and listen to their voice. we need to understand what they think and feel, too.
"The Covid restrictions were very difficult for many young people and in particular they missed out on so many social learning and peer experiences during their teenage years.
"It's essential we find positive and constructive ways forward to improve the health and wellbeing of our young people and ideally find safe places for them to go."
Fellow Buckie councillor Tim Eagle added: "After a couple of difficult years we all know how important it is to meet with friends and we want young people in Buckie to feel comfortable being out and about.
"That said I also recognise that we don't have a place for them to go and that is something we really need to look into and I will be raising this with the council.
"Sadly, however, some gatherings have involved significant amount of alcohol and drugs and that is a really serious problem. We have also seen a bit of a spike in vandalisms, particularly to play parks over recent weeks.
"I cannot stress enough the dangers of drink and drugs, it is not something I wish to see some young people in Buckie choosing to do and we really must open a wider conversation about how we provide for our young people. I would be delighted to hear from young people in Buckie about the need for somewhere to meet so we can work together on finding a place which is safe but provides an opportunity to meet with friends."
A spokesperson for Moray Council said: “The Re:connect programme launched in the summer and sees us working with partners to deliver youth engagement in communities across Moray, including Buckie.
"Due to its success the programme has continued, providing pop-up activities to involve young people in positive opportunities.
“Partners in Buckie have also been keen to speak directly with young people and have carried out additional engagement work over the past two weekends, speaking with them about any issues they may have and ensuring they feel safe and supported. These conversations will continue with young people and the wider community.”
Chief Inspector Norman Stevenson said that police were committed, along with partner agencies, to reach out to the young people involved.
“Officers in Moray have been working closely with the local authority to engage with young people across the region," he continued.
"These efforts began during the summer months, as part of the Re:connect programme, which saw a number of partner agencies collaborate to provide a fantastic array of activities and opportunities for our young people in Moray that promoted a fit and active lifestyle whilst offering great diversionary opportunities.
“Following recent concerns from the community about youths gathering around Buckie Community High School in particular, officers supported further activities with input from a range of partners including Aberlour Childcare Trust and council staff from social work and the communities youth work team. This enabled some excellent opportunities to meet with young people in the community during the weekend evenings and understand their needs and views.
“This demonstrates the commitment by all involved and will form part of the continued work in our community to support everyone – young and old – in living the best and healthiest lives across the whole of Moray.
“I am committed to working collaboratively to engage with young people to help prevent antisocial behaviour which can often be incredibly disruptive in our communities.”