With the fine weather continuing into June, coinciding with the first phase of the Scottish Government's easing of lockdown restrictions, I must again thank again the vast majority of Inverclyde residents for adhering to the guidelines and restrictions.

If you have read my column recently you will be aware that I have previously praised the youth of Inverclyde for not gathering in large numbers and causing the resulting anti-social behaviour, so I am disappointed that at the first sign of restrictions being lifted last weekend, we saw the return of large groups of youths at various locations throughout Inverclyde.

This resulted in one youth being seriously assaulted; another was arrested and charged. I cannot understand why we also had reports of (presumably) parents dropping their children off at these locations. This behaviour is endangering families and your own community.

The recent spell of good weather has attracted many of you to the shoreline and to inland waters too. Please remember that there are hidden dangers in the waters and the depths and currents are unknown. Alcohol and swimming don’t mix! Our shoreline is also patrolled by the Coastguard and we are grateful to them for additional support.

We experienced an increase in incidents reported to the police. I am perplexed and somewhat concerned that a minority of residents have chosen to ignore the remaining guidelines and restrictions heralding the return of anti-social behaviour in some communities.

I must remind this minority that we will robustly pursue those causing anti-social behaviour along with our partners in Inverclyde Council and when required we will enforce the remaining restrictions where necessary.

Last week, officers from Inverclyde’s Community Policing Team have continued to build strong relationships with our local communities and have recently been in Larkfield distributing Crimestoppers leaflets.

Drug deaths in Inverclyde are the third highest in Scotland and we all have a duty to try and reduce this worrying trend. I must urge the communities of Inverclyde to work with us and continue to provide information about drug dealing.

Our work in Larkfield led to information being acted upon and a male was arrested on suspicion of drug dealing. We seized a quantity of drugs destined to cause harm on your streets. The message is simple – Drug dealers don’t care, but we do! You have a right to feel safe in your own community and I believe that we can only achieve this by working together.

As the streets of Inverclyde become busier, officers have continued to monitor driver behaviour with a number of endorsable fixed penalty tickets being issued for speeding. I would like to thank residents for reporting these types of concerns to us. In the past fortnight, we have arrested three persons driving under the influence of drink or drugs in separate incidents.

They are putting lives at risk, including their own, and I would like to thank those members of the public who assisted. Along with the support of our Road Policing Department, local officers will continue to monitor driver behaviour.

I would like to thank everyone who continues to listen and heed the lockdown guidance and for the continued support you show to my officers whilst they patrol your streets. Please stop and speak with them as we all learn how to interact safely during these unprecedented times.

And finally, my sincere thanks to those of you who have taken the time to write to Chief Inspector Reilly to either articulate your community concerns or to simply pass on your support and recognition for the hard work of local officers. These letters are very welcome indeed and your messages are always passed on.