Thousands back CCTV demand after Meadows rape

Part of the Meadows was sealed off after the latest rape, which has brought calls for CCTV cameras. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach

Part of the Meadows was sealed off after the latest rape, which has brought calls for CCTV cameras. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach

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ALMOST 2000 people have signed a new petition demanding CCTV cameras on the Meadows in the wake of the “horrific” rape of a 19-year-old woman.

The fresh calls come amid mounting safety fears as police continue to investigate the attack which saw a man disguised as a jogger assault the young woman as she walked home at 7am last Saturday.

Police and council chiefs are set to meet this week to discuss improved security, with installing CCTV and improving lighting set to be on the agenda. Last week’s attack was the latest in a string of assaults and robberies in the area where there have been demands for better security for years.

Student accommodation manager Liz Kerry, who launched the online petition three days ago, said the issue could not be ignored.

“Young women are afraid to walk alone in the Meadows in case they are attacked, and so they are just running through the park as quickly as they can out of sheer terror.

“And the most ridiculous thing is that this isn’t a new issue. It’s something that has been brought up before but never pursued, and I don’t think that’s right.

“It shouldn’t have to take a woman getting raped just to push officials into placing community safety measures back on the agenda.”

Meadows councillors Mark McInnes and Melanie Main have already backed the calls, along with conservation group Friends of the Meadows.

Cllr McInnes said: “Women deserve to feel safe when they are crossing the Meadows, no matter the time of night.

“I definitely support the use of CCTV. There are quite a few issues that go hand-in-hand with implementing a policy like that, but it’s a major deterrent for criminals.”

The city council currently does not have any cameras in the area although councillors have been pushing for security to be improved since a spate of muggings in 2007.

A similar push took place in 2011 after a 19-year-old woman was sexually assaulted in the Meadows by two men.

Days later, a 20-year-old jogger was also attacked.

Previous CCTV bids have met with opposition from local residents although council sources believe that in light of the recent attack there may be little opposition.

Community safety leader Cammy Day said he would be meeting with police this week.

“It is of the utmost importance that our residents and visitors feel safe in our city,” Cllr Day said.

“I will be meeting with Police Scotland and the head of community safety to look at what measures we can take to improve public safety in the Meadows area.”

A police spokeswoman added: “Police Scotland will continue to engage with all local communities and the City of Edinburgh Council regarding how we keep people safe in the Meadows and throughout Edinburgh.”

nash.riggins@edinburghnews.com