Calls made to Police in relation to youth anti-social behaviour in Torry have dropped by 70% since the launch of an operation two years ago to tackle the issue.
In 2015 with the backing of a wide range of partners, Operation Smallwood was instigated by the local Community Policing Team (CPT) in response to regular anti-social incidents particularly in the Balnagask and Girdleness areas.
Local Inspector Chris Kerr said: "During the summer months Police would traditionally receive an increase in anti-social behaviour calls from the public ranging from general disorder and vandalisms to fire-raisings. Unfortunately the source of these incidents usually came back to young people living within the local community which meant firmer action was clearly needed to address the problem.
"Operation Smallwood was subsequently launched to deal robustly with offenders and ensure the parents and guardians of the children involved were fully aware what was happening and the negative effect this behaviour was having on their community.
"Two years on, I am proud to say that this proactive action is having an extremely positive effect."
During June/July this year, 36 calls in relation to anti-social youth behaviour were received - a reduction of 70% from the 120 calls received during the same period in 2015. In 2016, 78 calls were received during the same period.
Operation Smallwood involves dedicated local Police units carrying out preventative patrols during the summer months, responding to incidents and taking robust action with young offenders. Numerous problem-solving measures have been implemented including the installation of Wi-Fi CCTV cameras to deter incidents, and daily briefings between City Wardens, Street Workers and the CPT.
However it is not just about enforcement, with an additional focus on widespread diversionary activities which have been developed within the area.
Inspector Kerr said: "There's no denying that youth disorder can be a notoriously difficult issue to deal with, however I hope these figures give the community reassurance that it's an issue that has been taken seriously and demonstrates the strength of local policing. You told us what the problem was, we listened and we have acted.
"We also quickly realised that tackling the issue was not going to be about quick-fix solutions and that longer-term, sustainable solutions would be key to dealing with the causes and effects of anti-social behaviour. This would entail a lot of time, effort and resources from all partners involved, however it would pay dividends in the long-term. In saying this, sometimes all it takes is for our officers to have a kick-about with a football in the park with the younger generation here in Torry, or stop and have a chat with them on the street, to establish a good rapport.
"Over the years the commitment and enthusiasm of our partners including Aberdeen City Council workers, businesses and local volunteers has been relentless, and the numbers of youths joining up to diversionary activities such as Skateboard and BMX coaching, Streetsports and Streetdance increases every year. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our broad range of partners for their continued support as by working together we are making a real difference. As the current local Inspector who is committed to ensuring Torry continues to be a safe and enjoyable place to live, I will ensure these figures serve as a benchmark for continued improvement."
Inspector Kerr added that the final but perhaps most crucial piece of the jigsaw of all is the support of parents and guardians at home.
He said: "On the whole people are very supportive of our actions, but some have been less aware as to the extent of the problem and their child's involvement. We make no apologies for the robust approach we have taken to dealing with young offenders and educating their families, and I continue to reinforce the message to parents and guardians that 'policing starts at home'.
"Whilst Police, teachers, social workers, city wardens and youth workers all have key support roles to play, responsibility for the actions of children ultimately lie with parents and guardians. I would ask that you please continue to support our efforts and play a part in making your community a safer place to live."
This messaging system is not for reporting crime as responses are not monitored 24/7. If you have time-critical information regarding the content of the above message, or if you wish to report any other non-urgent matter, please call 101. In an emergency, call 999.
Police Scotland's North East Division covers rural and urban areas in Moray, Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City. The division has five territorial command areas which have their own dedicated Area Commander, who is responsible for the daily policing function. Each command area is served by a number of community policing teams whose activities are built around the needs of the local community. These teams respond to local calls and look for long term solutions to key issues. They are assisted by the division's Crime Reduction Unit who deliver against Force and local priorities in a number of areas, including physical and social crime prevention, supporting and enhancing community engagement and creating and sustaining strong and effective partnership working.