In my first column of the New Year, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish readers a very safe and prosperous 2017. The last six weeks have been an extremely busy period for the South East, with a swell of visitors to the city centre for the festive celebrations.
However, this time has really reinforced to me that Edinburgh is one of the best cities in the world to be a police officer. The range of events is unparalleled and we enjoy meeting visitors from across the globe and demonstrating the professional and friendly nature of policing in Scotland.
Winter City, the name given to our festive policing operation, was a great success. As well as people visiting our bespoke “Police Grotto” in St Andrew Square, officers ensured that there was a visible and approachable presence on the streets.
I’m delighted to say that they received praise from both visitors and residents for their helpfulness. Our plain-clothed officers also ensured that a number of bag/purse thieves were apprehended, and that potential crimes were prevented.
It’s always interesting to look at the volume of calls we receive over the year. During the weekends leading to Christmas we averaged 230 calls per day in our area, which is a higher number than during the height of the summer festival.
As expected, Hogmanay was the busiest night of the year for us, with 256 calls received in the South East. Plans to use officers who had been policing the event to support the officers responding to incidents later on in the morning really helped to manage the additional demands.
Our main priority in the South East over the next three months will be to reduce antisocial behaviour. As such, we are currently running Operation Penitant to target the sale and use of illegal drugs. This is an issue we see as significant contributor to antisocial behaviour and, over the last five months alone, we have recovered over £50,000 worth of drugs by targeting street dealers. However, we can’t tackle this issue alone and we’ve received some excellent information from the local community.
I’d encourage all residents and businesses to continue to call us if they know where dealing is taking place as we will respond and action will be taken against those involved. Information can be passed to your local officer, to Police Scotland on 101 or anonymously to the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Chief Inspector Mark Rennie is South East Area Commander