City football stars back domestic abuse crackdown

Liam Craig and Osman Sow join Liz McAinsh and Ricky Henderson to launch the campaign. Picture: Julie Bull

Liam Craig and Osman Sow join Liz McAinsh and Ricky Henderson to launch the campaign. Picture: Julie Bull

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More than 40 people have been arrested on domestic abuse charges in the Capital this week following the launch of a new crackdown.

A quarter of the arrests were made as a direct result of the festive initiative – while the remainder stemmed from “routine” call-outs.

Today, city chiefs said the results reinforced Police Scotland’s zero-tolerance approach to violence in the home.

The nine-day high-profile campaign – supported by the Capital’s two football teams and council – is also urging victims not to “suffer in silence”.

Eleven suspects have so far been arrested by officers executing warrants for “high-risk” offenders across the city. A further 30 people have been detained and charged after routine call-outs to domestic incidents in the past week.

Local officers and Edinburgh’s specialist Domestic Abuse Investigation Unit have been focusing on repeat offenders. Two individuals have been reported to the procurator fiscal for breaching bail orders.

The campaign was launched on Monday to tackle increased reports of domestic abuse over the Christmas period, often fuelled by alcohol.

Last Hogmanay alone, officers dealt with 50 domestic abuse incidents – while police deal with an average of 250 offences over the festive fortnight.

Hibs captain Liam Craig and Hearts striker Osman Sow visited the Fettes police HQ yesterday to voice the teams’ joint support for the campaign. Craig said: “It’s great to get involved – it’s sending out a strong message.

“When you see the following that both clubs get, even with young kids, we’re role models to them. If we can help set the example and send that important message, then great.”

Superintendent Liz McAinsh stressed that repeat offenders and suspects would be “locked up”.

She said: “Tackling domestic abuse is a priority for Police Scotland and in Edinburgh officers will continue to pursue those responsible. We are also committed to providing victims with all the necessary assistance and support they require.”

Supt McAinsh, who said she was “delighted” that the campaign was being supported by Hibs and Hearts, added: “Don’t watch [domestic abuse] and not report it, don’t listen to it and not report it. If you’re a victim of abuse, please don’t suffer in silence. Try and find the confidence to report it to police or through a partner agency or friend.”

Tonight, special leaflets highlighting the council’s Speak Up, Speak Out campaign will be handed out in nightclubs on what is said to be the worst night of the year for violent behaviour.

Councillor Ricky Henderson urged revellers to curb their alcohol intake to avoid any drink-fuelled incidents.

“We want to reach out to those affected by domestic abuse, or anyone who has concerns about others,” he said.

kaye.nicolson@edinburghnews.com