‘Bobbies on the beat is our priority’

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The subject of cuts to the emergency services is always extremely emotive.

The idea of 500 civillian support workers losing their jobs with Scotttish police forces over the coming months - including around 100 in Lothian and Borders - and many more than that next year will worry many people.

The big fear is that we will get rid of too many backroom workers with the inevitable result that frontline police officers will be taken off the streets and stuck behind a desk to do administrative work.

We knew that huge cuts were coming as a result of the decision to create single police and fire services for the whole of Scotland.

The big benefit of that move is the efficiency savings that will come from getting rid of the duplication of backroom services in the eight regional forces across Scotland.

When it comes to protecting public services, most people are generally okay with the idea of losing payroll and personnel staff if that leads to a more efficient service which can keep bobbies on the beat.

What is worrying is the claims that police officers are already being pulled off frontline duty in Edinburgh in order to carry out administrative tasks. That is the last thing that anyone wants to see and the exact opposite of what this merger was designed to achieve.

It is vital that a single Scottish police force does not lead to a drop in the level of service that it provides in the Lothians or anywhere else in Scotland.

If the public does start to see a deterioration in the service that they have become used to, then they will be quick to cry foul.

A bit less of a bang

THERE is no doubt the fireworks display in Oxgangs this year will be remembered for some time.

As the Evening News first revealed yesterday, the crowd which was gathered for what should have been a happy family occasion was left fleeing in terror when a rogue rocket seemingly set off all the fireworks at once. One girl suffered minor injuries and it is perhaps lucky that there were no more serious casualties.

The city council has now launched an investigation into what went wrong and we hope any lessons to be learned will be taken on board. At the same time, this unfortunate accident should not threaten the future of such long-running community events.

Organised displays remain the best, and in the main, safest way to enjoy the fireworks. Let’s just hope next year’s event goes with a bit less of a bang.