I’m sorry to report unruly youths were once again back at David Livingstone Centre last night, Friday 12th February 2016, causing further vandalism and disorder.
Around 9pm that evening, despite the cold temperatures, residents around the David Livingstone Centre grounds, Station Road heard a disturbance and called police. Acting on complaints of a similar nature a few weeks back and after public comments on social media that not enough was being done, local police this time took swift, decisive action and despatched a van containing a total of 7 officers who arrived on the scene within minutes of the call.
Five of the officers approached a crowd of about 15 youths who appeared to be drinking underage and if eyewitness accounts are to be believed, the youths were smoking drugs.The crowd scattered and five of the officers pursued them on foot, right out of the park and the chase continued up the Dandy (woodland towards Farm Road). A time later 3 of the officers returned to the police van in the park and it headed off to meet up with the other 2 officers still giving chase.
The Police van later returned after 9.30pm at 20 minute intervals to scan the park, which remained empty afterwards, with no sign of the youths returning. It is unknown if any of them were apprehended but the actions and promptness of the police last night are to be commended.
Unfortunately though, damage HAD been done before the police arrived. The Africa Pavilions windows were damaged (pictured), a similar incident to previous damage where a memorial bench was destroyed in January.
Weekend public disorder in at this centre is fast becoming a problem. A local resident anonymously told Blantyre Telegraph today, “Locking the grounds will not help, there are so many ways in and out. Authorities would have to build a fence like Colditz, and nobody wants that!! At least with the gates open the emergency services can get in. These neds think they have found somewhere to make their own, a more visual and active police presence should do the job. If they don’t get left in peace, they will move on……sadly it will then become somebody else’s problem!!”
The vandalism comes at a time when the Centre is closed for renovation. It is truly shameful these youths are SO incredibly stupid that they would think damaging the centre is clever or funny. These are crimes and these youths WILL be charged. Blantyre will not stand for drug-taking in public parks, underage drinking and mindless vandalism. The David Livingstone Centre is (and will be even more soon) one of Blantyre’s greatest assets and attractions. We note for the record, the centre and grounds are not the responsibility of the council in any way.
Have your say. Is enough being done by the Centre, by Police, by parents?