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Police Scotland launch campaign to keep Balloch and Loch Lomond summer visitors safe

today8 June, 2024 17

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Police Scotland and partners launch campaign to keep Balloch and Loch Lomond summer visitors safe

Police in West Dunbartonshire have launched their annual campaign to keep visitors to the Balloch and Loch Lomond area safe over the summer months.

Operation Ballaton will see officers work alongside partners from British Transport Police, Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, ScotRail, West Dunbartonshire Council and Argyll & Bute Council, to effectively manage resources and maintain a visible presence in critical areas.

The initiative will run until September and emphasises the importance of people looking out for each other and enjoying the open spaces responsibly. By coordinating with partners, officers aim to deter and detect any disruptive, disorderly, or criminal behaviour.

Local Area Commander Chief Inspector Kirsten McLatchie, said: “Our primary goal with this initiative is to create a safe and welcoming environment for everyone visiting Balloch and Balloch Park.

“Through collaboration with our partners we aim to ensure that all visitors can enjoy the area responsibly and safely without incident.

“We encourage everyone to respect the space and each other to help us maintain a pleasant atmosphere for all.”

“Where instances of anti-social behaviour or criminal activity do occur, I would ask that this is reported to us so it can be dealt with appropriately.”

Image: Newsquest

Head of Visitor Services at Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority Kenny Auld said: “This partnership is very important to the National Park Authority as not only does it help to reduce incidents of anti-social behaviour that effect people who live and work within the National Park it also improves the experience for visitors who are an important part to the sustainability of the rural economy.

“Working in partnership based on shared intelligence allows all partners working in Operation Ballaton to direct staff resources to where they are most needed.

“This partnership has improved visitor management within Balloch and West loch Lomond and further into the National Park and we are committed to supporting it.”

Superintendent Lorna McEwan of British Transport Police said: “The public’s safety is our number one priority, and we work tirelessly to protect everyone’s journeys across the rail network.

“We work relentlessly alongside our policing partners and the rail industry to prevent this type of behaviour. We have officers across the rail network around the clock, at stations and on trains, to detect and deter crime. We’re also fortunate to work in a CCTV rich environment which helps us bring offenders to justice.

“We encourage all passengers to report crimes or concerns to us so we can take action. They can discreetly report crimes or concerns via text 61016 or via the Railway Guardian app, and we urge people to ensure they save the number or download the app ahead of their travels. In an emergency, always call 999.”

Argyll and Bute Council’s Policy Lead for Business Development, Councillor Math Campbell-Sturgess, said: “Argyll and Bute is a beautiful part of the world and we’re delighted to be able offer a warm welcome, and share it with visitors. All we ask is that you respect the countryside and our communities: leave no trace, park responsibly, take care when travelling, and stay safe. Have a great time and be a great visitor.”

Leader of the Council, and Chair of Community Planning West Dunbartonshire, Martin Rooney, said: “Balloch Castle Country Park is a beautiful park with stunning views over Loch Lomond and we are proud to have this in the heart of West Dunbartonshire. Unfortunately, we have seen unacceptable anti-social behaviour from a small minority which is very disappointing.  The Council is working with our community partners to ensure the park remain an pleasant open space for residents and visitors to enjoy.”

David Lister, ScotRail Safety & Sustainability Director, said: “We are delighted to be working closely with our partners to make sure people travelling on ScotRail services feel safe, and are protected from any antisocial behaviour.

“We have many proactive measures in place across the rail network to improve safety for customers and staff, including the recent roll out of more than 1,000 body cameras.

“This operation is another fantastic opportunity for us to raise awareness of the support available to everyone travelling on Scotland’s Railway.”

Station Commander Anthony Mallon is the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s Community Safety Officer. He said: “We want people of all ages to be safe around water.

“We work in partnership with Water Safety Scotland, a national voluntary association of organisations and individuals, that aims to understand the risks around water in Scotland and prevent water-related incidents.

“We are also fully committed to working with our partners to educate the public about how to be safe near water.

“The key safety message for all of us is to follow the 3-step Water Safety Code and remember that water is still very cold, even on warm days.

“If you are having difficulty in water, then lie on your back, spread your arms and legs until the initial effects of cold water shock pass in around 90 seconds, and float to live.

“If a member of the public sees someone else in trouble in the water, they should never enter the water to attempt a rescue. They should immediately call 999 and request the emergency services.”

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Written by: Alan Caldwell

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