Mark Williams: New year, new challenges

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IT seems a long time ago that I was writing about festive safety and since then there has certainly been a great deal to update you on.

Our Christmas and New Year policing plan, Operation Greenland, was a great success and we put extra patrols out right across the city.

The Winter Festival was better attended than ever and both the Torchlight Procession and Hogmanay Street Party attracted record crowds. Thankfully there were only a handful of arrests for minor offences and I am delighted that so many revellers safely enjoyed everything the city has to offer.

As ever, we will shortly start work with the council to plan for this year’s event and, as part of that, we will refine and update our plans based on the lessons we have learnt.

There is no such thing as a quiet year in Edinburgh and we are already looking forward to a number of major events in 2015. We have a number of party conferences, rock concerts, festivals, royal courts and other challenges on the horizon and I am certain that, despite all of that, day-to-day demand will continue.

We will be focusing on local priorities this year and making sure we continue to drive down housebreaking, car crime, violence and domestic abuse. We will keep listening to the local communities right across the city to target issues that matter the most.

Stronger North – our response with the city council to issues in the north of Edinburgh – has been continuing. We have arrested dozens of criminals for a whole host of offences and we will keep targeting resources at this area.

Extra patrols are in place and will continue as we do all we can to reduce the scourge of antisocial behaviour, disorder and vehicle crime.

Finally, it would be remiss of me not to reflect on some of the terrible incidents that have taken place over recent weeks in Belgium, France, Canada and elsewhere.

We work very closely with national colleagues to manage the risks presented by terrorism and we are never complacent. Our greatest weapon in that fight is information from local communities. If you have any doubts or concerns about anyone or anything that you feel is suspicious you should make contact with us – we will always treat your information seriously and in confidence.