Mark Williams: Police will aid lawful protests

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Now that the spring is approaching we are starting to see an increase in the number of marches, protests and demonstrations being planned in the city.

Over the next few weeks a number are due to take place in the city centre and around the parliament. We have a wealth of experience in dealing with these events and we work really hard with other organisations to ensure that these are lawful and cause minimum disruption to the wider public. A key role of the service is to facilitate lawful protest and we take appropriate steps to safeguard public safety during all of our detailed planning. Let me be clear, though – where there is unlawful protest or disorder that threatens public safety we will act swiftly and professionally to prevent it and to target those responsible.

Many of you will be aware of a number of recent high-profile robberies across the city. Some of these have involved the criminal use of firearms and I would like to reiterate that these were isolated and not linked. I am pleased to say that following extensive inquiries involving local detectives and national specialised resources, a 24-year-old man was arrested and charged in relation to the robbery at Laing the Jeweller and a 21-year old man has been arrested and charged as part of the investigation into the robbery at the Ladbrokes store in Portobello.

We won’t tolerate serious violent crime anywhere in Edinburgh and in the last year alone we have arrested and charged in excess of 200 individuals for being involved in organised criminality. Thankfully, as a result of a focus on disrupting such individuals, these incidents are rare and, as you may have read yesterday, Edinburgh has recently been named the third safest city in the world to visit in a survey conducted by Post Office Travel Insurance.

We’ll continue to work hard to cut violent offending, target housebreakers and arrest car criminals.

Our housebreaking teams are here to stay and moving forward we’ll be enhancing the resources in Operation Quarterlight to do even more around car crime across the city.