HUNDREDS of drug searches have taken place in the region since the inception of the Community Action Team, a new report has revealed.

The team was launched in April as a collaboration between Scottish Borders Council and Police Scotland as a way to tackle anti-social behaviour and drug-related crime in the Borders.

Since then, officers have conducted 172 personal drug searches, and carried out 57 property raids.

Although just 37.3 per cent of the personal drug searches were successful, more than 77 per cent of property searches yielded drugs.

The team has also issued 632 parking tickets, carried out 81 roadside checks and patrolled the Borders in both vehicles and on foot for a total of 680.5 hours over a nine-month period.

The latest quarterly report, which is due to go before Scottish Borders Council’s executive committee tomorrow (Tuesday), reads: "During the third quarter the community action team has conducted targeted foot patrols in the identified areas of concern.

“On patrol, officers have engaged with residents to gain a better understanding of the problems in their areas.

“Over the Halloween/Bonfire Night period, officers engaged with numerous young people, some of whom were involved in antisocial behaviour. Several youngsters had alcohol seized and there were also drugs recoveries made.

“Mobile patrols are regularly carried out throughout the Borders by the team. Some of these patrols are intelligence led in relation to disrupting drugs supply or responding to information received regarding vehicles being driven by disqualified or uninsured drivers.

“All Borders towns have received attention in relation to dangerous and inconsiderate parking with 172 parking tickets issued this quarter.

“Officers have been completing timed parking in our main/high streets in response to concerns raised. Although enforcement is important, officers move vehicles on when possible and explain the parking regulations to the public.”

However, not all of the statistics released in the report show a marked increase in enforcement, as the figures show that over nine months the community action team has handed out just 16 fixed penalty notices for road traffic offences.

The report continues: “From completing mobile patrols and static road checks several motorists have been charged with relevant road traffic offences with fixed penalty tickets being issued and drivers reported to court.

“The team does take the opportunity to speak with and educate motorists regarding their driving style/awareness of other road users in areas identified as having antisocial or inconsiderate driving issues and work carried out in Hawick has been very successful so far.

“Work is ongoing in Galashiels, Jedburgh and other towns where communities have reported issues around this type of driving behaviour.”

The team is funded via a £282,000 grant from Scottish Borders Council, and tackles community priorities by fining offending motorists, carrying out high-visibility foot patrols and conducting drug searches of people and properties.

The community action team has also led visibility patrols during the common ridings and festivals season, and confiscated alcohol from young people at those events.