Despite the awful weather conditions the meeting last night was well attended. Unfortunately the representative from the Renfrewshrie CHP was unable to attend and so this presentation was held over to the next meeting. The presentation by the Police was extremely interesting and sparked a good discussion over the incidents of crime and the perception of crime in the area, they gave an excellent overall explanation of operation triplicate which made the press some weeks ago regarding the seizure of drug dealers in both Renfrewshrie and Inverclyde, questions asked included where the siezed assets of the criminals goes, how many shopkeepers have been charged with serving alcohol to under 18 year olds and whether or not the Police in this area are allowed to use young people as test buyers to see if they are sold alcohol.
The Police advised that the money siezed is put back into community programmes including £10,000 locally for a project called 'shop a dealer' in Ferguslie park and St James wards, it also goes towards public awareness campaigns. With regard to the selling of alcohol to under 18's there is a pilot project in Tayside which is using young people, and the hope is that this will be rolled out throughout Scotland. The bad news is that not many people are charged with serving alcohol to under 18's as it is very difficult at present to check but Police advise that if you are aware of a liscensed premises breaking the law to contact them.
Other items on the agenda included an excellent presentation on the core paths consultation (see here for web link to the consultation document) and feel free to fill it out and send it back to Renfrewshire Council. The item on the Paisley Town Centre short term plan also sparked an interesting discussion and many issues were highlighted which will be taken back to the Director of Environmental Services. All at the meeting agreed that the Christmas Lights were looking great and you could see the investment had been made, they were also pleased to hear that an extra farmers Christmas market had been put on as well.
There was some suggestion by Cllr McGreggor of the Liberal Democrats that all the ideas in the Yellow Book study were in fact rehashes of the Liberal Democrats motions, obviously this is nonsense. I accept that some of the motions that the Liberals have put up recently do mimick the suggestions, the difference is that the Liberals wanted the Council to pay for this, the Yellow Book study is agreed by all partners (including the private sector) and has got everyone on board, it gives common ownership of the project to everyone and calls for £45 Million of private investment!
The suggestion by Cllr McGreggor was niave in the extreme, but no doubt it will appear on an election leaflet in the near future!
The meeting was positive and a good exchange of views was heard, topics such as the recycling, rubbish collection and the local action plans were discussed.