OVER the last few months, my policing teams have been called to an increasing number of incidents of anti-social behaviour within some of our large supermarkets, Tesco in Musselburgh and Haddington, and Asda in Dunbar to name but a few.

These incidents have occurred throughout the day and have involved a number of individuals ranging from teenagers to adults who have been charged with criminal offences for their behaviour.

The offences themselves have included assaults, racial abuse and shoplifting, all of which are all deplorable in themselves and no one who works in any of the stores concerned should have to contend with such behaviour.

We are taking a range of measures with our partners to deal with the behaviour and this past weekend saw the deployment of our Special Initiative Team comprised of special constable volunteers alongside community officers.

East Lothian Courier: Chief Inspector Ben LeathesChief Inspector Ben Leathes

The team conducted a range of high-visibility patrols on foot and in vehicles in each of these towns and you can expect to see more deployments over the next few weeks.

I have spoken previously about the invaluable contribution that special constable volunteers make to policing our communities and I cannot thank them enough.

This is yet another example of the work they undertake and I would encourage anyone who is interested in their work and wants to make a difference in their community to contact our local co-ordinator at LothianScotBordersSpecialConstableCoordinator@scotland.police.uk

In addition to this, our school link officers have been identifying young people involved in some of the incidents and will be addressing the behaviour directly with parents, guardians and teaching staff.

I’m sure many of you reading this will have shopped in at least one of these premises or perhaps have friends or relations who work there, so it is an issue which affects us all. I would encourage you all to report persons or incidents you are aware of in order that the police can respond to these incidents.

Equally, if you are responsible for young people who are using these premises, I would appeal to you to talk to them about their behaviour and ensure it is responsible at all times and, if you need any further advice, please contact one of our school link officers.