Blue Light originates from New Zealand and Australia, and is the community intervention strategy for the police. It has many strands one of which is disco’s. The BLD initiative was brought to Scotland by Fife Constabulary under the Safer Scotland banner.
As background, we started our event, which is open to all local secondary school age pupils 13 – 17 years, about 4 ½ years ago, as a result of local concerns about youth anti-social behaviour, with 60 children attending, the numbers have risen to around 250. We hold 7 Disco`s a year from September – April/May (we normally avoid December as the schools have their own Christmas events). The initiative is backed by the Royal Navy, Royal Naval Service Police (RNSP) and the local Strathclyde Police Force.
Entry fee remains unchanged at £2 and we sell “glow stick” items to raise funding, which is used to maintain the events and any surplus is given back to the community. We have to date donated around £1600 to local and national charities (normally divided between a local charity and a MoD one) and local good causes. This year we have supported several local diversionary projects for local youngsters over the summer school holidays. These are determined by our local MDP community officers.
The Blue Light ethos is to provide an alcohol free “safe” environment and all attendees are searched and breathalysed as part of the entry requirements. Attendees also agree to have photographs taken for PR purposes. (Over the period the initiative has run only three problems with alcohol has occurred – two of whom was the same child on their birthday two years running). There are also opportunities to bring in other support agency staff as full partners (or as required) in response to local issues.
The events continue to provide good PR for the MoD, MDP and the local force. We have it set up so local MDP and Strathclyde Community Officers are on the door undertaking the breathalyser and searching as well as supervising during the event and this has allowed them to interact and get to know the youngsters (and as important for the youngsters to identify them as individuals) which has the added bonus of more interaction during their normal community work. This approach along with the excellent work done by the officers themselves on their patch reduced reported crime significantly and allowed a PR article on the front page of the local paper (and coverage in the wider media circles) of an “80% decrease of crime in the MoD estate”, which again can only be to the good.
The Ardencaple squad were recently presented with their new kit. The squad are pictured with representatives from the Bluelight team. Ardencaple BC would like to thank all concerned for the donation and welcomed the opportunity to be connected with this local initiative.