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Primary pupils ask parliament for more police in their area

TWO primary school pupils yesterday told the Scottish Parliament of the antisocial behaviour they claim is plaguing the area around their school.

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Nicola Hardie and Rachel Fraser explained they regularly witnessed litter and graffiti surrounding their Dunbartonshire school, and called for more police to be put on the streets.

The youngsters, from Lenzie Moss Primary in Lenzie, north of Glasgow, claimed pupils from nearby Lenzie Academy were responsible for many of the problems and said people often felt intimidated by groups of older children hanging around local shops.

Nicola said: "The litter warden had been contacted but said they would not come out without a police officer because they felt intimidated."

Rachel added: "Our police need to be out on the beat protecting the community. Stabbings, muggings, robbery and much more petty crimes have been happening and it needs to stop now." The two schoolgirls took their case to the Scottish Parliament's public petitions committee, where they made a plea for ministers to increase the number of frontline police officers.

John Scott, the Tory MSP for Ayr, said: "It's quite a serious situation if pupils in the secondary school are intimidating the public at large, including primary school pupils, at lunchtime."

MSPs on the committee agreed to look into the matter and will write to various groups, including the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland, Strathclyde Police and local education officials about the issue.

However, East Dunbartonshire Council stressed police statistics showed the area surrounding the girls' school was not a hotspot for antisocial incidents.

A spokeswoman said: "The area surrounding Lenzie Moss Primary School is not currently one of our priority areas for tackling antisocial behaviour.

"The council has a number of measures in place to deal with antisocial behaviour and where persistent incidences are brought to our attention, they are pursued by our investigation team."

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