Questions have been asked to police by a concerned community councillor as to why there has been a noticeable spike in breach of bail offences over recent months in Largs.

Jamie Black brought the matter up with Largs Police during a recent meeting of the community council which was hosted at the former soft play area at the Vikingar.

Mr Black asked: “What is going on with all the breaches of bail. We now have a string of them and if they are breaching it, are they returning from custody?”

In response, Sergeant Donald Fisher said: “Yes, we have people on bail in Largs, that is part of the justice process.

“If we arrest them for a crime, which say is a bad assault, then they are kept in overnight, and if that court case is going to be six or seven weeks down the line, and in that interim period they will get bail, and there are bail conditions, such as you don't commit an offence, which is standard, and sometimes there are special conditions that you need to stay at a certain address between 7pm at night and 7am in the morning.

“So part of our work is to go around between these hours and if they are not there they have breached their bail so the next time we see them they get arrested for breach of bail.  

"Likewise, if we are elsewhere and we see them and they are on a bail condition and in an area they shouldn't be, then they will get arrested too, and get taken back to court.”

Sgt Fisher said that this was part of the normal court process, and the police don’t have any say on this matter.

He added that the breach of bail incidents also showed that police are making sure that those involved are trying to adhere to their conditions, and this was part of police duties.

He continued: “These breaches of bail show that we are trying to make sure people are adhering to bail conditions, some conditions include not approaching certain people if they have been victims of something, and we will go and check with them too, and if that has happened, we will go back and the person involved will be arrested."

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Mr Black thanked Sgt Fisher but asked why there had been such a regular spate of breach of bail and asked whether there was any underlying factors.

Mr Black said: “It is appearing every month in the crime stats. Potential offenders breaching conditions -why has that happened? Has something happened, why has the pattern changed? Are these people committing crimes in Largs? I get the idea that they are committing crime elsewhere and they are all being landed here in social housing, and there are loads of them. I have seen it before elsewhere that something has changed, and we have got it here."

Sgt Fisher stated that it was the ‘nature of the beast’ sometimes in terms of people getting re-housed in the local area, but pointed out that there was no indication that people were being re-housed in Largs after being arrested for something and ‘to put them out of the way’.

He added that the issues raised by Mr Black were not so much a policing matter, and more something for the local authority to address.

Sgt Fisher added: “I think it shows that the police are keeping on top of the matter and we are carrying out regular checks on what the court is imposing."

A North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership spokesperson said: “While we are unable to comment on individual arrangements, all applications for housing are considered on a case-by-case basis and dealt with sensitively.

“However, when rehousing those who are assessed to be of potential risk to the public, including sexual or more violent offenders, then North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership and North Ayrshire Council work closely with a number of agencies, including Police Scotland, NHS A&A and the Scottish Prison Service, to carry out a complex and thorough Environmental Risk Assessment prior to any decisions being taken on where an offender should be housed. These arrangements are in place across all localities in North Ayrshire.

“A number of additional safeguards can also be deployed, including electronic tagging, curfews, sexual offence prevention orders and other civil orders, with a shared aim of reducing the risk of harm to the wider population."