POLICE chiefs in Helensburgh have hailed the “major positive development” of a new community policing team starting in the town.

The group, consisting of three officers, will work to tackle issues including violence, drugs and anti-social behaviour, the town’s inspector said in a report.

The document also said that the team has had a positive impact already since it started operations in October.

Officers are also set to work with Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority to ensure stronger policing on Loch Lomond from next springtime.

Local councillors will discuss the report at a meeting of Argyll and Bute Council’s Helensburgh and Lomond Area Committee on Tuesday (December 13).

Inspector Andrew Barron said: “A major positive development within the area is the commencement of our newly established community policing team.

“[This] is a team of three officers who will develop local work in relation to community needs and problems as well as addressing the wider concerns around violence, drugs and anti-social behaviour. The team commenced work at the start of October and have already had a positive impact in the area.

“A bespoke training programme set up by an officer from Helensburgh in conjunction with the National Park Rangers has resulted in several of the local officers being trained to work alongside the park rangers on the boat in the loch.

“[This is] Not so critical as winter months approach, however looking forward to the spring, having many more officers trained will provide that resilient, joint working that is required to police the loch effectively.”

Inspector Barron also gave details of work which was now underway with the Police Scotland Youth Volunteer programme, and of how police will deal with young people from looked after accommodation.

He added: “This work (with the youth volunteer programme) is being led by our youth engagement officer and is at the stage of recruiting youth volunteers and also crucially adult volunteers from within the local community who are vital to the operation of the scheme.

“Whilst the scheme is run and managed by the police, many of the adult volunteers will be non-police officers.

“Work is also ongoing to implement the ‘not at home’ part of the ‘Respect’ programme in the Argyll and Bute area, part of which is a shift change in terms of how the police and partners deal with and risk assess missing young people from looked after accommodation.

“This has been operating successfully in many other local authority areas throughout Scotland and will be a positive step in delivering for children at risk and ensuring that partnership and policing resources are not overburdened where simply not required.

“The overarching intent of this is to reduce harm for our care experienced young people in Argyll and Bute.”