City leaders to discuss ‘Glagsow-style’ policing

Sir Stephen House. Picture: Robert Perry
Sir Stephen House. Picture: Robert Perry
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Council chiefs and police top brass are to hold crunch talks over a perceived “Glasgow-style” policing strategy in the Capital.

Capital Coalition heads Councillors Steve Cardownie and Andrew Burns will meet with Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Stephen House to discuss what many fear is a rapid spread of Glasgow-style crime tackling tactics. It follows concerns an apparent crackdown on the city’s sex-for-sale saunas and a huge rise in stop-and-search operations is signalling a departure from long-standing local policing practices.

The News also told yesterday how city leader Cllr Burns has vowed to defend Edinburgh’s public drinking by-law from widespread police action, as it is “key to the city’s appeal”.

He is opposed to the “Glasgowfication” of the new single police force and wants to protect Edinburgh’s light touch approach to public drinking. His fears a Glasgow-style public drinking ban would be “disastrous” is shared by the licensed trade.

Today, deputy council leader Cllr Cardownie said he would seek answers from the country’s top police chief. He said: “I understand and am well aware that 
people perceive that there has been a roll-out of Strathclyde policies into Lothian and Borders and these are the points I will be making to the Chief Constable.

“We have always been assured that although there was the one police force formed, policing would reflect local 
sensibilities and local circumstances.

“I will put forward that there is a view in the city that things have changed and that we are now reflecting the way Glasgow is policed, which is not the way Edinburgh has been policed, and will ask him for his views on the matter.”

Cllr Steve Burgess, convener of Edinburgh Greens, said he shared “growing fears that a one-size-fits-all approach to police work will erode community policing”.

He said: “I have written to the Edinburgh commander this week, with my Green MSP colleague Alison Johnstone writing to Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill in the same vein, seeking firm reassurances that what works for 
Edinburgh will remain.

“Edinburgh policing priorities should be decided in Edinburgh.”

However, former police officer and leader of the Edinburgh Conservatives, Cllr Cameron Rose, said while it was clear “priorities had changed”, he felt it was right some things were cracked down on.

He said: “I think we are due for a return for a more effective policing of crime and antisocial behaviour. I think we have become too ‘touchy feely’ and a firming up of action against crime on the streets and antisocial behaviour would be welcomed by me.”

david.mccann@edinburghnews.com