Madam – I write in response to your editorial of the 7 November, and the associated article on page six. When The Saint adopted a rosy complexion last year, I did not expect that it would adopt other aspects of “Red-Top” tabloids. Whilst I, and I am sure the whole of the town and wider community, are appalled at the recent attacks on students by “Young People”, the editorial stance, and the stance taken in the article are ludicrous. In your editorial, you are shocked that you have received “radio silence” in response to your inquiries to the police and are offended that you have not received an official statement. You view these as reflective of the Police Scotland’s lack of urgency in delay with the matter. The problem is that the suspects from what I can gather are likely minors, and the police are generally (and rightfully) concerned about prematurely releasing details. Furthermore, police services are generally under huge strain in this country. In Scotland, police services reached a ten year low in 2018 (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-43963228) and have dropped further since (https://www.channel4.com/news/700-police-officers-to-be-cut-in-scotland). There are simply not the resources in the system to respond in detail to inquiry, and even investigate all (suspected) crimes to the full. Indeed, this is why the police officers were unable to respond fully when approached by Mr Pingle and Mr Singlton where “disinterested” and told them to contact 101, where they say that their case was taken seriously.
Your suggestion that there is a need for “greater patrolling of the St Andrews streets at night” is impossible. You seem to imply that this could be done by the University estates team, but they have no authority apart from on University property, and we have already established that the police lack the appropriate resources. What is most ridiculous about your editorial is that you say that you are “not taking an assumption of safety for granted.” You never should have been. St Andrews is a small and safe community, but students still need to maintain a degree of personal safety. I do not wish to suggest that Mr Pringle, or any other victim of violence, “had it coming”, but walking down dark allies in the wee hours when drunk or alone should not be assumed to be risk free. The whole community of St Andrews deserves safe, well policed streets. But to scaremonger over what is an isolated incident, is dangerous. St Andrews has a serious town/gown relationship crisis, and your reporting implicitly suggests that the local populous are to be feared – merely fanning the flames of this crisis. These attacks are serious, but the use of emotive reporting more at home in “Red-Tops” whose names I care not to mention does nothing to support and hold accountable the relevant authorities to ensure the appropriate outcome.