A successful joint operation to reduce antisocial and irresponsible behaviour in Scotland’s first National Park is underway again for its eleventh year.
Operation Ironworks brings together Police Scotland, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority and Forest Enterprise Scotland to work together to ensure everyone can enjoy a safe summer in one of Scotland’s most spectacular areas.
The focus of the operation is to provide high profile mobile and foot patrols in popular countryside locations, including the islands on Loch Lomond.
Since it began in 2007, the partnership has successfully reduced issues of anti-social behaviour from littering, drunken disorder, vandalism and petty theft through to more serious criminal behaviour such as violence and irresponsible use of vehicles.
The operation also helps to educate and promote responsible behaviour to ensure the safety of all visitors wherever possible.
Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park attracts around four million visitors a year, with the particularly busy time coming during the Summer months.
While the vast majority of people enjoy the National Park responsibly, the high volume of visitors, particularly to the most accessible areas of the Park, sometimes leads to incidents of irresponsible behaviour which can have a negative impact on others, the environment and themselves. Operation Ironworks has helped reduce the extent of these types of incidents and will seek to build on that success this year.
Inspector Jo Jollie of Callander Police Station said: “Operation Ironworks is an important initiative for police and partners, given the millions of visitors to the National Park and the vast area it covers.
“Officers have started their coordinated Ironworks patrols this year and they will continue over the summer months. Over the last weekend we have already seen a few incidents of irresponsible camping and people setting fires – these matters may seem minor but it’s important to the safety of everyone enjoying the Park and the natural environment that we prevent and detect any anti-social behaviour or disorder and damage. “I want to thank in advance all those coming to visit the National Park for respecting the byelaws, and we will work in partnership with the Park Rangers to deal with anyone who chooses to ignore them.”
Gordon Watson, Chief Executive of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, said: “The National Park is a fantastic place for people to visit, live and work, and the vast majority of people share a sense of passion and responsibility for the area.
“Unfortunately during the high pressure months over the summer we do see some behaviour which has a negative impact on the environment and other people.
“Our approach is always engagement and education first but when behaviour is serious it is vital that we are able to work with our partners at Police Scotland to take action.
“Operation Ironworks has proved very successful in reducing the instances of anti-social behaviour over the last ten years and I look forward to working with our partners again this summer to make sure everyone can enjoy the National Park at its best.”
Gordon Donaldson, Forest Enterprise Scotland District Manager for the Cowal and Trossachs area, said;
“Making sure that everyone who comes to the area stays safe and enjoys themselves is a joint effort – and that includes the visitors themselves.
“We’re happy to be part of this very successful approach to doing what we can to make sure that the few don’t spoil it for the many.”
Key times for the operation will be around bank holiday weekends and major events, as well as in response to spells of good weather which can lead to the National Park being busier.
To report matters of anti-social behaviour any of the agencies can be contacted or dial 101 to report crime, get advice or speak with a local officer.
Information can be given anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Notes to editors
The National Park Ranger Service, including full time, seasonal and volunteers, provides a professional service to visitors and all those who live and work in the Park. During 2016/17, they dedicated a total of 4,792 days to running our visitor centre and public slipways, along with patrols on land and water across the National Park. They also provided over 630 hours of support for educational events and activities, including 20 Ranger-led activities and support for six partner- led public events.
National Park Rangers can issue Fixed Penalty Notices of £80 for littering and £200 for fly-tipping.
They also have the authority to report people to the Procurator Fiscal for breaching seasonal camping byelaws which were introduced in March 2017 in order to protect fragile lochshores.
In addition to Operation Ironworks, the National Park Authority also supports a seconded police officer. To find out more about staying safe in the National Park click here