Jun 5 2008 By Frank Hurley
RESIDENTS in crime hotspot Queen's Park could soon be paying for extra police to pound the beat - particularly around the park itself where Moira Jones, 40, was brutally murdered.
Local Glasgow City Councillor Archie Graham said he had held preliminary discussions with Strathclyde Police top brass about buying beat bobbies.
He said the approach was made under the umbrella group Langside and Linn Community Planning Partnership (LLCPP) - a local partnership formed to implement five crucial community themes. One of those is safety.
Cllr Graham, who knows of local people's deep safety concerns after the horrific murder and the increase in Queen's Park crime levels, said more beat bobbies would allay public fears and definitely deter hoodlums.
He said several other of Glasgow's big parks suffered similar problems because of the easy availability of alcohol and drugs.
At Queen's Park he said extra police were needed on weekends when nighttime revellers spilled out of local venues at closing time and in the early hours of the morning.
Crime incidents have spiralled upwards in recent years - mostly blamed on the influx of bed-sit occupants, occupants of local homeless hostels and general drug and drink abuse.
He supported local residents' calls for CCTV cameras in Langside Avenue - provided they could be properly funded and maintained.
He said: "Such safety surveillance can't be stuck up willy nilly. They have to be placed to the best advantage, there has to be a guarantee of who will pay towards the cost and maintenance as well as ongoing costs and how they would be linked to the command centre for all of Glasgow's CCTV cameras.
"These are operated by Glasgow Community and Safety Services.
"The LLCPP would be prepared to contribute towards paying for more police officers on the beat in the Queen's Park area.
"The partnership I think would be willing to contribute towards the extra cost involved - under £100,000. I've already spoken to senior officers at Strathclyde Police HQ about this."
SNP Councillor James Dornan supported the idea of public money spent on public safety, he also said there was merit in the return of the oldstyle "parkies".
A spokeswoman for the city council said new legislation allows parks and open spaces to be accessible at all times. Only certain facilities in city parks - cafes, greenhouses and museums for example - are closed at night.
She said: "Park rangers patrol regularly during the day for security and to assist the public. They are mobile in vans."