THESE are times of great change for policing in the Lothians.
Six months from now Lothian and Borders Police will be history, replaced by a nationwide force covering more than 30,000 square miles and more than five million people.
Much has already been said about the creation of the new single constabulary. Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has acknowledged it will mean job cuts. And there are understandable concerns about the impact on community policing and local a accountability.
This newspaper has never been among those to have dismissed the idea as unworkable, especially when we are demanding more efficiency in our public services.
It is the quality of local commanders that will determine the effectiveness of the new set-up. They will have far more impact on life in the Capital, and towns and villages across the Lothians, than the new chief constable in Tulliallan Castle, Fife, who will preside over national strategy.
We are lucky on that count to have officers like Malcolm Graham, the new head of policing in Edinburgh.
The former head of CID is of course a highly experienced and respected officer, but just as importantly he is very much the face of modern policing.
He believes in officers getting on their bikes, literally, so that they can be out and about more in their communities.
And he is open and accountable, always prepared to be the face of what is happening under his command. That is a vital quality – and will be more important than ever after next April.
Many important questions need to be answered about what has happened to the care of John and Thomasina Gibson.
At this stage, we do know that the brother and sister, of Claremont Bank, Bellevue, were vulnerable people in their 80s who were given care by a private company under the guidance of the city council. The fact that Mr Gibson required an emergency operation after a neighbour raised the alarm suggests significant and urgent care needs were being overlooked. The council has initiated an immediate investigation, which is to be welcomed.
Friends of the couple say they were scheduled to have visits from carers four times a day. So how could such significant needs be overlooked with such frequency of visits?
Many residents who have elderly friends and family receiving care at home will be anxious to hear the answers.