Leader: ‘Should we make top-up payments?’

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AS taxpayers we already pay for the equipment that our police use to make our streets and communities safer. So should we also be asked to make top-up payments?

That is the question now being considered after Lothian and Borders police approached seven community councils in Edinburgh and asked if they were prepapred to pay for a new speed gun to help monitor drivers in the west of Edinburgh.

Locals had raised concerns about speeding in the area. But in a letter, police admitted that funds were limited and a contribution of £500 each would need to be made towards the £3700 device.

Community councils have very limited funds at their disposal, but that is really a side issue. A wider debate is required about whether this is an appropriate funding model for our police.

It raises questions about whether more affluent communities could end up being policed more thoroughly if they are able to afford additional equipment.

And where does it stop? Should communities being paying for the installation of speed bumps? or CCTV cameras? or even new police cars which patrol only their area?

If such a model is introduced, it shouldn’t be brought in piecemeal, it needs a much broader examination by all interested parties.

Huge sacrifices

THE dedication needed to become an Olympian is beyond the comprehension of most people. The huge effort athletes from the Lothians have made to make the British team will soon be rewarded on the biggest stage of all. And regardless of whether they come home with medals they will have achieved something special by taking part.

But we shouldn’t all forget the huge sacrifices that the friends and family of Olympians also make.

Our story today tells how the parents of 18-year-old swimmer Craig Benson, from Livingston, get up every morning at 5am to take their son to training at Warrender Baths.

And young boxer Josh Taylor’s battle to make the weight has been assisted by his mother - who has been forced to hide the biscuits to ensure a sweet tooth did not disrupt training.

The support that family and friends give often begins when children are still at primary school. Shuttling them to numerous different classes, working overtime to pay for coaching.

Parents, of course, will do this out of love for their children. But when you see a British Olympian on the podium later this month, spare a thought for all the scores of people who have helped to get them there.