Sara Buchanan: Progress in war on antisocial behaviour

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As the Area Commander for North Edinburgh, I am fully aware of the strong community feeling regarding issues of youth disorder, antisocial behaviour and motorcycle crime, particularly in the Forth Ward area.

I am committed to tackling these issues, in conjunction with our partners, in the short and long term, in order to keep people safe, support the community and preserve community well-being.

In the past three months alone, 24 individuals aged from 12 to 22 have been charged with 140 crimes of theft, damage and associated road traffic offences in regard to the antisocial and illegal riding of motorcycles in the area. Also 57 motorcycles have been recovered during the same period and returned to their rightful owners. Just last week, a 17-year-old youth from the area was remanded in custody following his appearance at court.

In April this year, following a serious motorbike collision in West Pilton, my officers visited a number of young people and their parents to reinforce the dangers of riding motorcycles. However a small minority continue to cause disruption to the area. I am grateful to members of the local community who have reported such incidents to the police.

I have recently secured an additional four teams of specialist officers, who are now exclusively deployed in the Drylaw area in order to tackle antisocial behaviour, disorder and violence.

In the two weeks since the teams arrived, they have had a significant effect on the levels of reported antisocial behaviour and they will continue to pursue and robustly deal with offenders. So far, 42 persons have been arrested or reported, four vehicles have been seized and drugs, knives and weapons have been removed from criminals in the area, including the dismantling of a cannabis cultivation near a local school.

Also last week, two local youths were charged with a breach of the peace after causing antisocial behaviour in the Pilton area. An Asbo warning was also issued to a driver of a vehicle after driving it in an antisocial manner.

With regards to the recent attack in West Pilton, I wish to thank the community for assisting the police in the investigation. Three males have now been detained and appeared at court charged with attempted murder, two of which have been remanded in custody until their trial.

To ensure cohesion between all organisations, a task force called Stronger North has been established, to enhance joint working and improve communication in the Forth Ward. Together we will use every possible measure to target the main offenders.

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