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Last Updated: Friday, 14 March 2008, 14:00 GMT
Extra police crack down on gangs
Gang of young people
Gangs members will be encouraged to attend youth groups
Extra police officers will be on the beat in Paisley and Linwood in a bid to crack down on gangs.

Up to 50 personnel will be released from regular duties over the weekend as part of Strathclyde Police's anti-violence strategy.

Officers will be patrolling the streets on foot, bikes and cars, and using mobile CCTV to identify and disrupt disorder.

Young people will also be encouraged to attend youth groups and workshops.

Ch Supt John Harkin, Strathclyde divisional commander for Renfrewshire and Inverclyde, said officers will be targeting problem areas in Gallowhill, Seedhill, Thrushcraigs, Paisley town centre, and Linwood from Friday night.

He said: "Similar to lots of places in the west of Scotland, some local housing estates in the area have problems with anti-social behaviour and gangs.

"Young people hanging around street corners is not unusual, but when they start to get involved in graffiti, attacks on local transport, and engage in fights with other groups, then it takes it to a whole new level and we have to challenge that."

Diversionary tactics

But he said the campaign was not just about cracking down on anti-social behaviour, but also offered alternative ways for young people to spend their time - such as youth clubs.

"We are also using diversionary tactics like 'Hit the beat'. It's a rock school, come music club in Paisley," he said.

The initiative, which offers activities such as DJ mixing, video animation and street dance, is touring Renfrewshire and will visit Gallowhill youth club on Friday night.

The crackdown on gangs is part of a wider campaign by Strathclyde Police aimed at reducing violence and improving community safety.

The force will look at areas such as weapons, anti-social behaviour, organised crime and domestic abuse later in the year.

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