Police make multiple arrests after weekend of violence
Police Scotland have arrested and charged several people in connection with a series of violent incidents in the Auchinleck area of East Ayrshire over the weekend. Riot police were deployed to deal with a “hostile crowd” that threw fireworks and bricks at officers, injuring one of them. The disturbances started on Friday, November 24 and continued until Monday, November 27.
One police officer was injured by a brick during the disorder and had to be treated in hospital before being released. Temporary chief superintendent Raymond Higgins said: “This type of disorder causes fear and alarm to residents and I would like to reassure the local community that enquiries into what happened are ongoing.”
Police have stepped up patrols in the area and urged anyone with information, CCTV or dashcam footage to come forward. Higgins added: “We’re committed to identifying those responsible and taking further action. For them to be attacked while doing their jobs is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
Residents fear for their safety amid unrest
Some residents of Auchinleck have expressed their fear and anxiety after the violent scenes that unfolded in their neighbourhood. Kyle Drummond, who lives in a flat on Heathfield Road, said he had to jump out of the window to escape fireworks that were shot through the wood panel of his property. He said he did not know why his home was targeted and that he “feared for his life” during the attack. He said: “The two rockets came through the wood and it just exploded. I could have been burnt. It gave me a real fright.”
Natalie Carmichael, from The Nest community group in Cumnock, said the widespread clips shared on social media had caused unease among residents. She said: “People are scared to go out and do their shopping. Those with young families are really anxious. They are scared of the repercussions. There’s been an undercurrent for quite some time but it has all come to a head.”
Police federation calls for more resources and intelligence
David Kennedy, general secretary of the Scottish Police Federation, said that incidents like this were more likely to escalate when there were not enough police officers based in a community. He said: “If we had more police officers and community police officers in these areas then intelligence would be there that would perhaps stop incidents like this. However we have a £2bn shortfall over the last ten years and, with the cuts we are currently coming under, I can’t see how the police service are going to get that back.”
He also criticised the lack of support and protection for police officers who face such dangers on a daily basis. He said: “We have seen a rise in the number of assaults on police officers over the last few years and we have been calling for better equipment, better training and better legislation to protect our members. We need to send a clear message that this kind of behaviour is not acceptable and will be dealt with severely.”
Police appeal for witnesses and evidence
Police Scotland have appealed for anyone who witnessed the disorder or has any relevant footage or information to contact them as soon as possible. They have also thanked the public for their cooperation and assistance during the investigation. Higgins said: “I would like to thank the local community for their patience and support while we deal with this matter. Anyone who thinks they may have information, CCTV or dashcam footage which could assist us in our investigation is urged to come forward.”
Anyone with information is urged to contact Police Scotland on 101 quoting 2137 of November 25, 2023. Alternatively, information can be given anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.