COMMUNITY police teams are set to confront increasing problems with vandalism through a new initiative which is being launched this week.

Police Scotland, Fife Council and the Central Fife Crime Prevention Panel have joined forces to highlight the negative effects that vandalism has on local communities.

A month long campaign begins this week across West and Central Fife, with police and council teams carrying out extra patrols in areas where vandalism has been reported recently.

This activity will be supported by a poster and leaflet campaign that urges those responsible for acts of vandalism to consider the effects of their actions, and persuade the wider public to support the police and council in striving to reduce this type of offending.

Vandalism affects communities in any number of ways, whether it be an empty property with broken windows, damaged swings in a local park, broken fencing or damaged trees.

The cost is not just financial, it is felt in the use of police officer and council time in the investigation and clean-up afterwards and it is the whole community that suffers as a result.

The strapline of the long established Central Fife Crime Prevention Panel motto, “Enjoy Don’t Destroy”, will be the main theme of the campaign which will be supported by local media and inputs to schools.

Posters will be distributed to licensed premises and public buildings and Community Police Officers will be highlighting the effect of vandalism on us all.

Irene Ralston, Area Commander for West Fife, which covers the Cowdenbeath Policing Area, said: “Vandalism is a form of offending that is hugely disappointing to deal with as it is very often mindless and petty. Communities only ever suffer from vandalism, mostly in the form of a repair bill and the need to clean up afterwards.

“The message from all partners involved in this campaign is very much “Enjoy Don’t Destroy” – look after your community, take responsibility for your actions and help us all to significantly reduce vandalism across West Fife.”

Mark McCall, Service Manager, for Fife Council said: "Complaints of vandalism come into the Council on a regular basis, and range from damage to vehicles and smashed windows to council properties including schools suffering.

"The damage done often means local residents are unable to enjoy facilities at their full potential and can also leave communities saddened and angry if something they have worked hard to build is destroyed.

"Within the Safer Communities Team we will be working with our partners to support this campaign. Our officers will be promoting the ‘Enjoy Don’t Destroy’ message when out and about, and we will be promoting messages on our social media channels. People feel safe when they live somewhere which looks nice, and we want to work with the people of Fife to help create such environments everywhere.”

Lenny Linton, chair of the Central Fife Crime Prevention Panel added: “Enjoy Don’t Destroy” has been our motto since we formed 25 years ago and is as relevant today as it was then. I would urge everyone to play their part in helping Police Scotland and Fife Council reduce vandalism across the areas where we live, work and play.”

For more information on the campaign, to report vandalism or to provide information on a vandalism contact Police Scotland on 101 or Fife Council on 03451 55 00 22.

If you would prefer to remain anonymous please call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.