Scottish Borders Council

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Council Headquarters, Newtown St Boswells

Contact: Judith Turnbull Tel No. 01835 826556  Email:

No. Item




The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and there was a round of introductions. 



Minute pdf icon PDF 103 KB

Consider Minute of Meeting held on 8 November 2019.  (Copy attached).


There had been circulated copies of the Minute of the meeting held on 8 November 2020.



APPROVED the Minute.



Matters Arising from the Minute


With reference to paragraph 5.10(b) of the minute of 8 November 2019, it was noted that the Safer Communities and Justice Manager had raised the issue of Unwanted Fire Alarm Signals with the Council’s Education’s service and a response was still awaited.






Mobile Working Device


4.1       With reference to paragraph 4.13(b) of the minute of 8 November 2019, Chief Superintendent McKenzie introduced PC Paul Owenson, who was in attendance to demonstrate Police Scotland’s new mobile working device. The new device would allow officers to complete administration tasks and activities without having to return to their base.  The device would also allow officers to be more visible in communities and enhance local engagement. A project to work through the introduction of the device in the Scottish Borders was started in November 2019 and would be completed in the next few weeks, when the device would be rolled out as for operational use.


4.2       PC Owenson began by explaining that the mobile working device was a Samsung Galaxy Note 9 which had been adapted for police use.  Mobile coverage was provided by EE, the network with the widest mobile coverage in the Scottish Borders.   PC Owenson then demonstrated the device on the screen and highlighted the Apps available to officers which included: person searches, vehicle searches, shift details and domestic abuse guidance.   With regard to the person search, the device allowed for a search to be carried out which had previously required radio contact with an officer based at the station. The device also displayed any warnings relating to individuals, which was beneficial in terms of officer safety.  The device could also log callers’ details, phone number and addresses – with a map displaying their location which was useful in rural locations.  Officers were also able to view and send texts and emails;  log incidents; complete jobs; edit word documents; circulate photographs of missing persons and suspects, photograph evidence, CCTV stills or injuries; all without returning to their base station.   Additional apps included: access to police intranet for briefings, St John’s Ambulance First Aid training, and a translation app.    Functions would be updated and reviewed regularly to improve service delivery.  


4.3       In response to questions, PC Owenson advised that information relating to evidence required for Court would be transferred from their mobile device and stored on a base laptop and used when required.   Regarding data protection, Chief Superintendent McKenzie explained that the device was compliant with data protection legislation.  Regarding officer safety, there was an alarm button on the device and the base station could identify location; officers’ existing radio systems had also been retained.   Regarding the lack of mobile signal in Eyemouth, Inspector McGuigan advised that officers in the location had not reported any issue with mobile coverage.   The Chairman thanked PC Owenson for his attendance and his demonstration of the new mobile working device.







Progress Reports/Updates on Service Matters - Police Scotland pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Additional documents:


Chief Superintendent McKenzie began by saying that the Police Contact Assessment model would ‘go live’ on 23 March 2020 in the Scottish Borders. He advised that a consultation on the closure of Coldstream Police Station had been circulated for the local community’s’ views.  It was noted that the station had not been operational since 2016.   Chief Superintendent McKenzie further advised that the consultation on renewal of the Local Policing Plan had achieved 628 responses from the Scottish Borders.  The Strategic Assessment was being prepared and the draft Plan would be circulated to Board members for their comments.  In response to a question, Superintendent MacInnes advised that the consultation period could be extended to allow feedback from Coldstream Community Council, following their election. The final draft plan would be submitted to the Board before being submitted to the Scottish Borders Council for its approval.


5.2       Inspector McGuigan then presented Police Scotland’s Scrutiny Report for Q3 - April 2019 to December 2019 compared to the same reporting period the previous year.  Copies of the report had been circulated with the Agenda.   Inspector McGuigan began by advising that Quarter 3 had seen the total number of crimes recorded increasing by 10%.  However, this was an improving position when compared with Quarter 2 (15%).  During the quarter there had been a decrease in serious assaults, road casualties, antisocial behaviour, all housebreaking and missing persons.  


5.3       Protecting People (Q3 2018/19 figures shown in brackets)

Although there had been decrease in missing person incidents to 500 (552), there remained a need to commit a significant number of resources to incidents in order to protect the most vulnerable members of the community.   In response to a question regarding the support received from NHS Borders, Inspector McGuigan advised that good assistance was received with representatives from NHS Borders attended Police Liaison meetings where each incident was discussed and learning points were disseminated to those concerned.


5.4       Domestic Abuse incidents had increased to 863 (746), 457 of these incidents resulted in a crime being recorded giving a conversion rate of 40.9%.  Proactive bail checks continued to be robustly enforced, with 29 detections for bail offences this year to date, a rise of 81.3% when compared to the same period in 2018/19.


5.5       Racially Aggravated Conduct had risen with 14 (11) crimes reported.  22% of which were against police officers. It was indicated a number of hate incidents had been committed by children (aged 16 and under) and Youth Community Officers continued to work in partnership with education to address this.


5.6       Sexual Crimes had also risen in the period with 174 (120) crimes reported.  Reports of rape were up by 16 and reports of Indecent/Sexual Assault had increased by 70% - an increase of 29 crimes.  The detection rate for Group 2 crimes was high and had also increased by 18.9% since the same reporting period last year and was at 74.7% and the rape detection was higher at 77.1%


5.7       Reducing Violence (Q3 2018/19 figures shown in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Progress Reports Update on Service Matters - Scottish Fire & Rescue Service pdf icon PDF 229 KB

Performance Report (Copy attached).


Update on Service and Operation Matters.


LSO Stephen Gourlay.

Additional documents:


There had been circulated copies of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Services (SFRS) Local Plan Performance.  Local Senior Officer (LSO) Gourlay began by giving an update on the national negotiations around pay and conditions advising the ballot process would conclude at the end of February, a further update would be provided at the next meeting.  LSO Gourlay then advised that he would circulate a link to a short survey on local SFRS service provision with copies of the existing local plan, and requested support from the Board to complete the five minute questionnaire by 18 March 2020.   LSO Gourlay then went on to refer to the Peebles High School fire on 28 November 2019. Approximately 63 different fire appliances had been on site during the incident, which had been one of the most challenging of his 27 years as a firefighter.   Following the incident, home fire safety advice was provided to the surrounding community.   The post fire audit was currently being progressed, the results of which would be reported to a future Board meeting.   LSO Gourlay then went on to advise that a second Rural Watch Commander was now in post for the Peebles cluster.  This meant that there was decent coverage in terms of retained station support.  Finally, the Newbridge Training Centre was opened on 28th January 2020 by the Minister for Community Safety, Ash Denham and he suggested that Board members might be interested in a tour of the Centre, which he could facilitate.


6.2       Group Commander (GC) Jaffray then presented the SFRS Local Plan Performance report for the period 1 April 2019 to 31 December 2019, copies of which had been circulated with the agenda.   He began by advising that during the period the SFRS had responded to 1231 incidents, a reduction of 30 incidents since the same period last year. False alarms accounted for 56% of emergency calls.


6.3       Reduction of ‘Dwelling Fires’ – There had been 65 (78) dwelling fires, a 17% decrease since the same period last year.  Five of these fires had been started deliberately. 


6.4       Reduction of ‘All fire casualties (fatal & non-fatal) - There were 16 casualties, which was the same figure as last year.  CG Gourlay advised that a Post Domestic Incident Response (PDIR) followed all domestic dwelling fires, offering reassurance and fire safety advice to households in the vicinity of the incident


6.5       Reduction of ‘All Deliberate Fires Excluding Dwellings’ – There had been 117 incidents, an increase of 13 since the same reporting period last year.  Grass scrub, woodland and refuse fires accounted for 60% of all deliberate fires with many incidents attributable to antisocial behaviour.  The SFRS’s Community Action Team continued to work with partners to mitigate the risk of reoccurrence. 


6.6       Reduction of ‘Special Service – RTCs’ – The SFRS attended 70 RTCs, a slight increase of one compared to last year.  Hydraulic rescue equipment was required on 21 occasions to extricate persons trapped in vehicles.  


6.7       Reduction of ‘Special Service Casualties – All’ – There were  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Safer Communities Update and Key Activities pdf icon PDF 2 MB

(a)   To consider report by Safer Communities and Community Justice Manager.  (Copy attached).


(b)   To discuss and approve new report format.  (Copy attached).


(c)   Presentation of Anti-Social Behaviour process by Safer Community and Justice Manager and Anti-Social Behaviour Officer. 

Additional documents:


There had been circulated copies of the Safer Communities Performance reports covering the period from 1 April 2019 to 31 December 2019.   The Safer Communities and Community Justice Manager, Mr Jones, explained that changes in the reporting format reflected their move into the public protection service and provided a single resource which would be suitable for both forums.  The new report format also provided more information about the teams’ activity.   Mr Jones further advised that their move to Langlee had been delayed but would take place around Easter.  Mr Jones then highlighted the main points:-


7.2       Through effective partnership working fewer adults and children experience Gender Based Violence.  The number of domestic abuse incidents reported to Police Scotland had increased to 863.  This was expected given the introduction of the new domestic abuse legislation.  The number of referrals to all domestic abuse services was comparable to last year.  Mr Jones advised that the change in the number of children accessing the CEDAR group programme would rise, once the postholder returned from leave. 


7.3       Through effective partnership working fewer people experiences antisocial behaviour.  The number of incidents had decreased by 6.5% due to a range of in activities such as mediation and work with partners such as the multi-agency antisocial behaviour review group.  A presentation on the antisocial behaviour process followed this report. 


7.4       Work in partnership to reduce injury and prevent accidents.

The report explained that a National Hate Crime Awareness week had been held in October, supported by a range of organisations.  A key focus of the event was identifying what constituted hate crime.  As in previous years the Festive campaign focused on home safety, winter driving, causes of fire within the home, and personal safety.  The team had also undertaken an awareness raising exercise focused on the danger to children of blind cord strangulation, dangers posed by household cleaning products and burns. 



(a )       NOTED the report.

(a)             AGREED the new reporting format.




Antisocial Behaviour Unit


The Chairman then welcomed Mr Colin Bain, Antisocial Behaviour Officer, who was in attendance to give a presentation on the Council’s Antisocial Behaviour Unit which focused on neighbour disputes.  Mr Bain began by explaining that the antisocial behaviour service was front facing, supported by the police, NHS and RSLs.   Antisocial Behaviour law was introduced under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and allowed action, under civil legislation, where criminal law and balance of proof was not enough.   Referrals to the Unit came from the ASBO Core Group which met every month.  This Group was multi-agency based and included representatives from Police Scotland, Victim Support, NHS and RSLs.  The Group considered every case and agreed the approach to be taken and how this was to be enacted.     Mr Bain went on to discuss the demand for the antisocial behaviour service advising that currently there were 82 active complaints being investigated, of which 26 were linked to persons being monitored.  Six of these complaints were for noise monitoring equipment, with the remaining 50 being followed up.   Mr Bain went on to discuss some of the early interventions they offered, such as, telephone advice and, presentations to community groups.   In response to questions, Mr Bain advised that when they received a call the first priority was to verify the information, which might mean installation of noise monitoring equipment.  They would then look at ways of improving the situation, including offering mediation.  The last resort was court action.    The Chairman thanked Mr Bain for his attendance and presentation on the work of Antisocial Behaviour Unit.






Alcohol & Drugs Partnership pdf icon PDF 102 KB

Presentation by Head of Health Improvement/Strategic Lead and Alcohol & Drugs Partnership Coordinator.   (Briefing Paper attached).


The final presentation of the day was from Fiona Doig, Head of Health Improvement/Strategic Lead ADP and Susan Elliot, ADP Co-ordinator.   Copies of a briefing paper had been circulated with the agenda giving an overview of ADP work  Ms Doig began by advising that every local authority had an ADP, the role of which was to implement the national drug and alcohol strategies.  Ms Doig explained that drug deaths had been increasing locally as well and nationally, with no apparent change in demographics.  One of the actions in place to reduce drug deaths was the provision of naloxone which was administered if an overdose situation arose, 70% of known people at risk of overdose were now able to access naloxone, with 36% being used in emergency situations.  Other actions to reduce drug deaths included a low threshold access to, and, provision of opioid substitute therapies (e.g. methadone) and follow up protocols for non-fatal overdoses.   Actions were also planned to mitigate poverty and childhood adversity, and improve access for HIV/hepatitis prevention and treatment.


 9.2     Ms Elliot then went on to advise of the work that the new Engagement Service Team were doing to actively work with people most at risk of drug related death.  Ms Elliot referred to previous work with the Fire Service by delivering training on alcohol awareness and providing information about the support services available, reciprocally the drug and alcohol services were able to make direct referrals to the Fire Service for home safety visits.  Ms Elliot then referred to a ‘fake news’ story which had stated that a syringe, with what appeared to be methadone, had been found in the street.  The ‘syringe’ was found to be a Unison pen and this story demonstrated the challenges and stigma around people who were often the most vulnerable in the community.  Ms Elliot concluded the presentation by advising that an ADP Strategy refresh would look at areas for improvement and involve people with lived experiences.  They would also be considering alcohol pathways, mental health and long term conditions.   In response to a question around links with Child Protection and numbers of children impacted by drug or alcohol use, Ms Doig advised that approximately half of their service users had someone under 16 although rarely were these children within the home. Action for Children worked with children, family members or kinship carers to offer support.    The Chairman thanked Ms Doig and Ms Elliot for their attendance and presentation on the work of the ADP






Date of Future Meetings

The following dates have been confirmed by Council for 2020/21:-


Friday, 15 May 2020.




The next meeting was scheduled to be held on Friday, 15 May 2020 at 9.30 am.




Scottish Borders Council

Council Headquarters Newtown St. Boswells Melrose TD6 0SA

Tel: 0300 100 1800


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