New Falkirk Area Commander determined to rid region's parks of anti-social behaviour issues

Falkirk district’s new Area Commander has vowed to stamp out anti-social behaviour in parks so the public can relax in green spaces now lockdown restrictions have eased.

Wednesday, 28th April 2021, 12:36 pm

Chief Inspector Craig Walker, 51, replaced Edinburgh-bound 36-year-old Chief Inspector Chris Stewart in late March.

The former Area Commander for Glasgow city centre immediately set his sights on tackling disorder in beauty spots following a spate of incidents like Callendar Park and Victoria Park in Falkirk and Zetland Park in Grangemouth.

Earlier this year, we told how a group of youths received warnings over their conduct in Zetland Park.

New Falkirk Area Commander Craig Walker. Picture: Michael Gillen.

The force also sent out letters to parents of high school pupils in Grangemouth to inform them of large groups of youths gathering in the area which resulted in an increased police presence at weekends.

As more people begin to venture outside, the new man at the helm is eager to ensure the public feel safe when visiting such places.

Chief Inspector Walker, who launched a police operation in Victoria Park this week, said: “Coming out of lockdown, we’ve seen some issues arising in our public parks.

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“It’s about trying to keep our eyes open in these areas so people can use them safely, lawfully and reasonably. I want to avoid coming to a point where we’re constantly getting reports of anti-social behaviour, particularly as the summer’s coming in.

“We see where the calls are coming in and build up a picture of where we need to put our resources, particularly at the weekend.

“We want to make sure, working with our partners, that people use the parks responsibly.”

After starting his career on the beat in Glasgow, his home city, Chief Inspector Walker progressed through the ranks to become Community Inspector for Glasgow North and then East Dunbartonshire before securing his position in Area Command.

Among his highlights are the three years he spent working on security arrangements for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Now based at Falkirk Police Station, he has wasted no time in getting to know his new surroundings and believes his previous community-based roles will stand him in good stead.

He continued: “Everywhere you work you learn something you can take to the next role.

“I’m really looking forward to the challenge. I’ve got 28 years’ service and I’m still as keen as I’ve ever been.

“I’m keen to meet as many people as I can. Because it’s a new area, I also want to get out into the area.

“Getting out to see where places are gives me a better idea of how to respond to concerns.

“I’ve been really impressed with the division and the people. It takes a bit of time to understand local issues and the people to speak to, but you very quickly build that up.

“Our elected members are important because they’re a good route into the community. I am keen to hear from as many sources as possible so I can deliver a service that continues to meet the demands of local communities.

“I would encourage members of the public to contact their local community policing team if they have any concerns they wish to raise.”

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