Mark Williams leaves Edinburgh police chief post

Outgoing Edinburgh Division Commander Mark Williams. Picture: Gordon Fraser
Outgoing Edinburgh Division Commander Mark Williams. Picture: Gordon Fraser
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THE police chief who steered the Capital through the turbulent first years of the national force has left the post.

Chief Superintendent Mark Williams has been offered a temporary promotion to Assistant Chief Constable in Scotland’s west division.

He will take up the new post at police HQ in Stirling today after more than two decades in Edinburgh, serving the last two-and-a-half years as divisional commander of the city.

His time at the helm has not been without challenge, with the advent of Police Scotland prompting controversy about the break-up of the Capital’s traditional housebreaking teams and accusations of the “Glasgowification” of local policing.

He took action to resurrect Operation RAC with a plethora of resources to bring the break-in issue under control.

Commanding 1300 police officers and 240 police staff, he also worked with the city council to crack down on so-called legal highs and assisted the Stronger North task force set up in the wake of the attempted murder of a takeaway owner.

And he was outspoken about the over-provision of licensed premises in the city centre and the link it has with disorder.

COMMENT: Mark Williams will be a hard act to follow

But from today he will leave the Capital behind and assume responsibility for local policing divisions in the west of Scotland. He will also head up the national licensing and violence reduction unit.

ACC Williams said he wished his successor – due to be appointed in the new year – well in their new role.

The challenges of policing in Edinburgh were laid bare in a recent inspection report which revealed that the equivalent of 55 officers every day were drawn from local teams to provide temporary cover elsewhere.

ACC Williams said: “There have been a lot of challenges for the police service and there will continue to be so. Edinburgh is a fantastic division and there’s no shortage of professional and capable officers and staff here. They give 100 per cent for the city and will continue to do that.”

He said he was leaving his office in St Leonard’s, having started as a constable there in 1993. “I’m taking on a job of significant responsibility, it will be a challenge and I’m sure I will learn a lot,” he said.

In a final swansong from his former role, ACC Williams will be commander for the city’s Hogmanay celebrations.

He said he was proud of what had been achieved during his stewardship, adding: “Crime is down, which is brilliant, and I leave the city in a good place.”

kaye.nicolson@edinburghnews.com

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