Sara Buchanan: Initiatives show signs of success

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North Edinburgh is a busy, diverse area that extends along the shoreline from Seafield to Silverknowes, and into the city as far as London Road, Stockbridge and Ravelston Dykes.

It covers the council wards of Inverleith, Forth, Leith and Leith Walk. I’m the local area commander for North Edinburgh, with responsibility for 215 uniformed and plain clothed officers.

To keep people safe, I ensure my officers focus on our main priorities – assault and violent crime, antisocial behaviour, drug and alcohol misuse, housebreaking, thefts and road safety. In the last year, we have reduced violent crime by 6.8 per cent – that’s 18 fewer victims – whilst increasing the rate we solve crimes to 74.5 per cent, meaning more violent offenders have been traced and dealt with. We have also reduced incidents of disorder and hate crime, whilst taking more drugs and weapons off the streets than ever before.

In addition to this, we are actively involved in Operation Rac (#OpRac), Police Scotland’s campaign to tackle housebreaking offences. We had seen housebreaking increase in North Edinburgh, but since Operation Rac began, we have reduced this by 9.2 per cent, and will continue to ensure it remains a policing priority.

Youth crime and disorder is an issue in North Edinburgh, and includes break-ins to sheds and garages, and youths joyriding on stolen motorcycles. To combat this, I began Operation Tully, which aims to reduce crime and provide increased reassurance through community engagement, increased patrolling in identified crime areas and proactively targeting known offenders.

Over a six-week period, we reported 60 offenders, the majority of which were for theft of motor vehicles and motor vehicle offences.

Community policing is at the heart of everything we do. Officers work closely with colleagues from partner agencies and volunteer groups.

A number of improvements have already been gained through the Total Craigroyston initiative, which provides a more co-ordinated management of juvenile offenders, while looking at longer-term strategies to tackle youth offending, such as early effective intervention and diversionary opportunities.

I look forward to further success with our partners and communities as we all work to stay safe. I am very proud to be part of a team that continues to protect your local community and target the criminals there. I would also like to again praise our community, not only for their assistance during the search for Mikaeel Kular, but also for the messages of thanks received, recognising our professionalism and compassion in traumatic circumstances.

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