Mark Williams: Thieves need no invitation

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In my last column I spoke about how important it is for the police to listen to local communities. I encouraged Edinburgh readers to let me know the issues that matter to them so I can shape the policing plan for the year ahead.

I am delighted to say that since we opened our consultation more than 5000 residents of the city have responded and that number is still growing. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to contribute – it really does make a difference and we are listening to what local communities want. That is why we are launching a crackdown on housebreaking – the public in Edinburgh have put this issue high up their agenda for action and we are responding by putting extra officers in place to detect and arrest those responsible.

The Crown Office are supporting our efforts during the festive period by ensuring that those charged and put to court are more likely to receive custodial sentences to prevent them reoffending, helping to protect the communities of the Capital.

While we’re doing our bit to keep your property safe this festive season, there are some simple steps you can take to deter would-be house-breakers. Don’t leave gifts and other valuables in poorly secured garages and sheds and make sure you have good working locks fitted to doors and windows. If you have an alarm then use it and get it serviced if it’s overdue. Thieves are lazy and take the opportunities that are presented to them – don’t make it easier.

Next week I will get the chance to welcome more than 30 new officers to the division. As the Scottish Police College closes over the festive period they will be returning from their training to join the ranks and work on the streets during a really busy time for us.

This is a fantastic opportunity for them and for the city – they will be deployed on all duties alongside our normal resources, including responding to emergency calls and supporting the many events that will take place over the next few weeks.

While most of us will enjoy a happy and peaceful festive season, sadly some men, women and children across the city will suffer the terrible effects of domestic abuse. This is a key priority for Police Scotland – we take calls of this nature really seriously and focus on protecting the victims of abuse at all times. This is a crime that affects all walks of life but in recent months we have arrested and charged more perpetrators than ever and we will continue to focus resources on this most distressing of crimes.

If you need advice or help then get in touch with us on 101 or, in an emergency, 999. We will always listen and can offer you support or tell you about other agencies that can help. Whatever you do, don’t suffer in silence.

I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a safe, happy and healthy New Year.