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Last Updated: Monday, 2 February, 2004, 15:27 GMT
Extra police target 'ned culture'
Bobbies on the beat
Extra officers will be targeted at trouble spots
A Scottish police force has announced a massive recruitment drive in an attempt to combat "ned culture".

The Central Scotland force is to take on 70 new officers after a 500,000 cash injection over 12 months was approved by the police board.

The force covers the Falkirk, Stirling and Clackmannanshire council areas.

Chief Constable Andrew Cameron said the move addressed the real concerns of the community such as group disorder, under-age drinking and vandalism.

'Very pragmatic'

Central Scotland Police is one of Scotland's smallest forces and the 70 new officers will bring the total number to more than 800 men and women by 2006.

Mr Cameron said: "The message coming across to me as chief constable is that we need to get a better level of visibility and a better level of reassurance into our communities.

"You might describe it as old-fashioned; I'd describe it as very pragmatic and responding to what communities want.

"We've got a very sophisticated intelligence network that can identify the hotspots, can identify the recidivists, and can make sure that we tackle these individuals - the small minority who cause problems."

Chief constable Andrew Cameron
Chief Constable Cameron: Responding to community requests

Despite its small size, Central Scotland has witnessed some of the country's worst examples of "ned culture" over the last 12 to 18 months.

In one infamous case, a youth who subjected the residents of a Clackmannanshire town to a campaign of terror was "banished" from most of central Scotland for nine months.

Edmund Eccles was 15 years old when he led a group of friends on a spree of violence, housebreaking and intimidation in Alva.

Their hold on the town was so severe that First Minister Jack McConnell visited in person to discuss ways of ending it and local shopkeepers threatened to set up a vigilante patrol.

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