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Are special police constables needed on the NC500?

Police have already been running traffic patrols on the NC500. Photo: Police Scotland
Police have already been running traffic patrols on the NC500. Photo: Police Scotland

A plea to recruit special police constables around the NC500 has been made by a leading Highland councillor.

The tourist trail has seen a repeat of traffic and environmental abuses this year.

Now Hugh Morrison, vice-chairman of both Highland Council’s Sutherland County Committee and the Communities and Place Committee, said volunteer police officers working in conjunction with council rangers could help solve many of this year’s problems around the road trip.

‘Police have limited resources’

Large parts of the 516-mile route have little permanent police presence – the officer based at Rhiconich serves such a huge swathe of Sutherland it is one of longest beats in Europe.

Mr Morrison, who also runs the Smoo Cave Hotel in Durness – and represents North, West and Central Sutherland – said the team of rangers hired by Highland Council this season had done “a good job”.

He said: “But if special constables were recruited along the NC500 – especially in the key pinch points – they could work hand-in-hand with the rangers and we would have a system of both council and police powers operating together.

Traffic concerns have been reported at various sections of the NC500, including at Glen Torridon. Photo: Sandy McCook/DCT Media

“It has been busier this year – especially with campervans and motorhomes – and while there have not been the same level of problems as last year there have been at certain hot spots, especially with human waste.

“The ranger system was brought in to advise people not antagonise them. Many tourists just need to be educated better to the challenges of the route and their impact on communities. There are communities around Assynt for example that would be happy to come off being marked on the route.

“The police have limited resources and make sporadic days out. That is why special constables would help in certain locations. We are all trying to reduce the impact on communities and make sure they enjoy the benefits of the NC500.”

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