A CLAMPDOWN on community crime in the Borders is being hailed as a major success after only three months.

Since the launch of the Borders Community Action Team earlier this year anti-social behaviour has reduced in most towns.

Problem parking is also on the wane, drug supply chains are being broken and the seven-strong team are also attempting to crack an organised bike-stealing gang.

Figures released this week show that the six constables and sergeant who make up the pioneering Borders Community Action Team have carried out more than 80 drugs searches, issued almost 220 parking tickets, and carried out 40 roadside speeding checks between the launch on April 1 and the end of June.

And they have stepped up patrols in anti-social hotspots across the region.

The Borders Community Action Team is a joint project between Scottish Borders Council and Police Scotland.

Scottish Borders Council leader Shona Haslam told us: “When we decided in February to fund the introduction of a police Community Action Team for the Scottish Borders, we did so with the aim of making a significant difference to the lives of people in our area.

“We believe the performance of CAT so far shows they are meeting this aim, with significant action being taken on illegal parking, drugs and anti-social behaviour issues right across the Borders.”

Highlighted issues which landed in the inbox of the new team have been ongoing vandalism at the Burgh Primary School in Galashiels, discarded needles in and around Gala Park, the Chinese Hut in Selkirk being used as an under-age drinking den, and anti-social drivers around the Common Haugh in Hawick.

Since CCTV was fitted at both the Burgh Primary and Common Haugh, along with increased patrols, no more offences have been reported.

Partnership working with needle dispensing outlets has led to the number of discarded syringes dropping.

And no issues have been reported on Selkirk Hill since the Community Action Team began regular patrols.

Local Chief inspector Andy McLean believes the new officers are a valuable new resource in tackling crime.

He said : "They have been dealing with issues that improve the quality of life in the Borders, including tackling parking and drug-related issues.

"We have the flexibility to decide what they focus on – for example we could send two of the officers to deal with a smaller incident or six to a big incident, which is good for us."

During the first three months of operation the Community Action Team carried out 69 people-searches for drugs and a further 16 raids on suspected dealers' properties.

More than 24 parking tickets were issued in a single day as the team tackled illegal parking in Kelso.

And regular patrols in Innerleithen and Peebles have led to a reduction in the number of cyclists using pavements.

The community team is also working with officers in Edinburgh to tackle high-value mountain bike thefts from Tweeddale.

Despite the encouraging results from the first three months, not everyone is supportive.

Galashiels and District councillor Harry Scott, who is a former police sergeant, said: "While I appreciate the work the Community Action Team team does, I do think the fact we have to have a team at all shows policing in Scotland is broken a little bit.

"I don't think we would have needed a team like this in the past.

"And because if comes out of the council's budget, we are paying for this extra policing service."