Mark Paterson: Edinburgh safer and more crime-free

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I AM responsible for around 140 uniformed police officers and the delivery of policing to about 140,000 residents across the wards of Liberton/Gilmerton, Meadows/Morningside and Southside/Newington.

While my officers provide a 24/7 response to a wide range of incidents, we also focus on the priorities identified by the community in South Edinburgh. These are antisocial behaviour (including drug and alcohol misuse), housebreaking, road safety and violence.

Since April 2013, serious violent crime has fallen in the south by almost 27 per cent, equating to 40 fewer victims. In addition, our detection rate for crime of this nature now sits at 71.6 per cent – up almost four per cent in the past year.

Community policing remains at the heart of our work and recent changes have seen an increase in the number of community officers on the streets.

I recognise Edinburgh in general, and the south in particular, has suffered a rise in incidents of housebreaking. I believe people should be safe in their homes and we have taken steps to tackle this.

Specialist investigative teams have been established to focus on those responsible and I have been able to deploy additional officers from across Scotland to supplement local officers in tackling those who continue to commit housebreaking.

This has resulted in eight people being charged with almost 40 break-ins across the south of the Capital within the past three weeks. I would like to assure our local residents we will continue to target offenders and I ask that anyone who witnesses any suspicious activity, contacts police.

At the beginning of February we piloted the use of SmartWater in the Greenbank and Grange areas to combat housebreakings.

SmartWater is used to mark property with a unique invisible code. However, its most important feature is as a deterrent. When we began this initiative all residents got marking kits and signage saying SmartWater was in use. In the first two weeks since this pilot began only two break-ins occurred and no further housebreakings have been reported.

Crime prevention essential in tackling acquisitive crime and I would urge readers to ensure the security of their property and contact their local policing team for more information. As we approach Police Scotland’s first anniversary Edinburgh remains a safe city, due in no small part to the close links forged by officers and their communities.

• Chief Inspector Mark Patterson is Local Area Commander for South Edinburgh.