A CRACKDOWN on troublemakers has made Rushmoor parks more secure during the past two years.

That is the conclusion of the borough council following an analysis of the reported incidents covering that period.

According to the council's figures, acts of vandalism have dropped from 102 to 29 between 2000 and 2002.

During the same period drink related incidents have fallen from 270 to 180, and evidence of drug taking has reduced from 113 cases to 41.

The improved picture is highlighted in a report by Andrew Colver, democratic services chief, to the borough council's leisure panel.

He says: "In general, the evidence seems to indicate that Rushmoor's parks and open spaces are safer than they were two years ago."

In his view the improvement is due to the introduction of measures to tackle a wave of vandalism and complaints about anti-social behaviour.

The measures included the employment of a security company to patrol the parks, and the provision of more facilities for young people.

CCTV cameras have also been installed in Aldershot's Municipal Gardens and Farnborough's King George V playing field - two of the worst trouble spots.

Mr Colver said, however, that the council was not resting on its laurels and further steps were being taken to improve the atmosphere in the parks.

The security company has already given way to park rangers whose job includes enforcing bye-laws and gathering information.

CCTV cameras are to be installed in several other parks, and lighting is to be improved in some areas.