Police Scotland faces refund demand after £280k “CAT” scheme issues two dog poo fines

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POLICE are facing refund demands after a £280,000 scheme to tackle antisocial behaviour resulted in just two fines for dog fouling in six months.

But while showing little interest in dog poo, the Police Community Action Team – known as CAT – managed to hand out hundreds of tickets to motorists for bad parking in the Scottish Borders.

Local councillor David Paterson, a campaigner against dog fouling, has called on his council to demand money back from Police Scotland over their poor performance.

Statistics revealed that the community team has only issued two tickets for dog fouling since it was established in April.

In the same period, over 450 parking tickets were issued by CAT officers across the Borders – an increase of nearly 39% on last year.

The CAT team are funded with a joint investment of £282,000 from the Scottish Borders Council and Police Scotland.

Cllr Paterson said the figure of only two tickets for dog fouling is damning.

He told his local paper: “I put the question on how many members of the public have been fined for parking infringements in the Scottish Borders.

“I was told that 460 people had been fined for parking infringements while only two people have been fined for failing to clean up after their dogs.”

Chef, Gavin Starkey, taking it in his own hands to clean up the dog mess

Cllr Paterson continued: “I then asked when the council will be meeting with the Scottish government to demand our money back. This is our money and we should have use of it.

“This is costing the council over £30,000 a year, money that goes straight into the Scottish government coffers. It’s like they are just concentrating on the motorists and just ignoring the ever-increasing dog fouling issue.”

But community safety head, Councillor George Turnbull, hit back: “The CAT patrols areas where dog fouling is a problem, and when the police are visible, people are tending to pick up after their dogs.

“We would highlight that the CAT responsibilities do extend beyond those of dog fouling and we would point to the other positive aspects of the team’s deployment, i.e. parking tickets, high visibility patrols, proactive drug searches and road checks etc.”

In February it was revealed that a Borders man took it upon himself to clean up other people’s dog mess and send pictures to local councillors and MPs.

Chef Gavin Starkey, from Kelso, said he spends up to 12 hours a week cleaning up the streets of his home town in order to force the authorities to clamp down on dog fouling.

At the time, Gavin said: “I walk my son to school every Monday morning and a couple of weeks ago he slipped and fell in dog poo and that was the final straw for me.”

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