New community beat officer for Tweeddale East

Published: 26 Oct 2012 07:30

POLICE in Peeblesshire are welcoming a new face to their community beat team.

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PC Chris Burnside is stepping up to the role in Tweeddale East after eight years in the force - six of which he has served in Peeblesshire.

His duty will be to liaise with the public, listen to their problems and assist in solving them.

Chris, from Edinburgh, told us: "I'll be listening to and integrating myself with the community, checking what's going on and building relationships with local people, town and village councils and other groups."

After taking numerous walks of life before joining the police, Chris believes his exposure to life outside the police will be invaluable to his role in the community.

The 50-year-old told us: "I've brought up a family, been made redundant twice - I know all the ups and downs of working out there and what comes with it.

"I think, with this job, I'll bring a lot of life experience. I've got eight years in the police, and 26 years before that."

After a life as a metal worker, ventilation installer and safe breaker Chris joined the police.

"I know what it's like to work and live out there, and I can relate to a lot of situations because I've been there myself," he added.

The avid Hibernian FC fan told us that his main focus will be on the children of Tweeddale East.

Chris said: "I'd like to concentrate on the kids - I don't think there is enough for them to do right now.

"If you go down the street, any night of the week, and ask the kids that are hanging around what they're up to, they'll say 'we're bored', and that's a problem."

After his time on response, Chris believes he's got an idea of what needs to be done, and he says it's all about having up-to-date activities and pass times offered in the area which keeps the young ones engaged.

He told us: "There are a lot of sports and physical activities that young people in the area are interested in.

"The idea is to try and get them out and doing these things - there's a lot of facilities on their doorstep but they don't get used."

And he said the challenge is to keep activities and pass times offered within communities up-to-date and modern.

"Young people today are interested in different things than they were 25 years ago. I do know that it's all down to finances when it comes to updating computers and things like that.

"But if they were to get out there and help raise funds for what's needed, I believe it would give them an interest," he told us.

Chris added: "We need to try and address this lack of activities for kids to do - so I'm hoping to work with other agencies to get an idea of just what can be done - particularly on the winter nights.

"If we can't keep our young ones focused they can drift away and become involved in underage drinking and hanging around street corners. Not even by their own fault, they can get involved."

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