Police with sniffer dogs targeted pupils of an Aberdeen school in a bid to stamp out drug dealing, the Evening Express can reveal today.
The operation has centred on bus stops where youngsters catch transport taking them to and from Lochside Academy.
It is understood the patrols were laid on after residents raised concerns that children attending the school were causing antisocial behaviour and taking drugs.
Officers were spotted taking a dog to bus stops on Victoria Road, Torry.
It is understood the officers and dogs did not board any school buses and searches were only carried out when officers had specific reasons to do so.
A parent, who asked not to be named, said her daughter and son, aged 15 and 13, were “scared” when they were searched.
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The 35-year-old Torry resident said: “It was first thing in the morning and, honestly, I was angry when I first heard. As a parent you try to protect your children from these situations.
“I understand why the police are doing it, and it lets kids see what touching that stuff can do to your life – but I was shocked when I heard.”
Nigg Community Policing Team Inspector Jackie Knight said: “The vast majority of Lochside Academy pupils are a credit to their school, but occasionally a tiny minority can behave in an antisocial way, and we have received concerns from the local community that there have been instances of antisocial behaviour and drug taking.
“Using the search dog is a more efficient and less invasive way to help with patrols than singling individuals out for searches performed by officers, as the dog can mingle between a group, perform its task and then move away.
“We have had a lot of support from members of the community in response to these patrols. I understand some parents may have wanted prior notice of them but the nature of this behaviour means it has to be unannounced.”
She said the patrols began on the first day of term at Lochside on January 7 and continued every weekday until Friday.
Sniffer dogs were used “a handful” of times and police have said there were no drugs recovered throughout the operation.
Torry Community Council chairwoman Margaret Wright said members of the public had raised concerns and the body has requested a meeting with Lochside’s head teacher Neil Hendry.
Aberdeen City Council’s education committee convener John Wheeler said: “We are delighted to support the engagement work taking place between Police Scotland and our young people as it demonstrates how community planning partners can work together for the benefit of our communities.”