The Post joins Clydebank police on patrol after the launch of their bid to prevent violent crime in the town.

A CALL has come in reporting a person with a golf club in Kilbowie Road near Second Avenue, threatening to batter something.

The police van revs up and cruises around corners as the officers look for signs of anyone carrying a weapon through Kilbowie and Parkhall. Nothing.

CCTV operators call to say a car is acting suspiciously and it could be a drug deal.

The van goes up Argyll Road toward the roundabout with Chalmers Street, pausing as they await the CCTV staff confirming which what the vehicle is turning.

When they know it’s left towards them off Standford Street, they take the roundabout and follow, turning on their lights as it goes into Glasgow Road.

The taxi, initially, between them and the suspect car doesn’t shift despite the lights but finally gets out of the way and the police vehicle immediately pulls over.

Four constables all jump out and pull the passengers and driver out, one by one - two female, two male.

One of the women asks if they were pulled over because she was missing.

“Were you missing?”


“Are you still missing?”


It’s a brisk evening as everyone stands on the pavement, a pair of passengers lighting up a cigarette as they wait.

Finally, details taken, everyone searched, officers issue an on-the-spot fine for possession of an almost minuscule amount of cannabis.

The Scottish Government has called for drug policy to be devolved from Westminster but possession of the Class B drug remains a crime. So police in Clydebank are doing exactly what the law, and politicians who write it, demand.

And it fits into the wider approach of the ongoing Operation Holder, started in August 2018 to prevent and deter more serious crime.

The seemingly low-level crimes are ultimately perceived as leading, potentially, to more serious incidents.

Earlier on the patrol, the van thuds over the speed bumps at the entrance to Dalmuir Park.

We quickly spot a couple of youths and the vehicle stops and a couple of the officers start to question where they’re going.

One of the individuals, a 19-year-old from the Vale of Leven, has turned up in the area for a party. “It’s not an empty”, he tells officers.

Clydebank’s CCTV centre has 200 cameras across five different systems with varying degrees of quality ranging up to motion-activated, HD-quality ones in West Court and Park Court in Mountblow.

They have already seen youths heading up to the seventh floor and now officers in Dalmuir Park have found more youngsters claiming there’s a party there.

PC Nicola Neeson uses their personal digital assistant (PDA) devices to check details on who they find.

The youths ditched a carrier bag of booze, and one of them is aged 16. Police have the power to take alcohol off people who might be of legal drinking age if they’re in the company of youngsters.

PC Chris Coyle tells the 19-year-old: “See the house party you’re going to? Don’t go. It’s going to get emptied. We don’t want you mixing with people you don’t know.”

The teenager is given a £40 fixed penalty notice and the police drive off around the Mountblow high flats.

They bump into two known men outside the Mountblow Superstore and search both of them, with one man having on two pairs of trousers over his boxers.

The man is clearly unwell through addiction. Police are on the front line for drugs and public health policies - from minute amounts of cannabis found in the vehicle in Whitecrook, to the the damage drugs inflict on communities across Clydebank and Scotland.

And Operation Holder is focusing on proactively tackling the potential causes of crime, particularly violent crime.

So police empty out a flat in West Court a few hours later after youths are reported fighting in the landing.

Inspector Allan Dickson, with Clydebank’s community policing team, said Operation Holder, focusing principally on the Clydebank Central ward, is working.

He said: “So far Operation Holder has been running for several months now and as a result we are seeing a downward trend in serious violence and disorder across the central ward of Clydebank.

“This operation is a long-term effort by the community officers here in Clydebank and we appreciate there is still much work to be done.

“We are keen to address any issues people have and hope that the good people of Clydebank can engage with us along with our partner agencies to address the problems that are causing violence in our communities.”

As the police van twists around the high flats, crawls between tightly packed cars on side streets and listens out for any reports of trouble over police radio, this is a large part of what Operation Holder is all about: being seen in the community and detecting crime early.