​Let’s ‘crackle’ down on firework safety - Kieran Dougal

​As we move out of the summer and into the bonfire period I want to provide some reassurance, as North East Edinburgh Local Area Commander and also the Silver Commander for Operation Crackle, around our dedicated multi-agency response to ensuring that people can enjoy this period safely.
Chief Inspector Kieran Dougal is Local Area Commander, North East EdinburghChief Inspector Kieran Dougal is Local Area Commander, North East Edinburgh
Chief Inspector Kieran Dougal is Local Area Commander, North East Edinburgh

Operation Crackle is our annual campaign for the Bonfire Night and Hallowe’en period and will be supported by the national public order campaign, Operation Moonbeam.

Operation Crackle aims to keep the public, police and emergency personnel, as well as our wider partners, safe and ensure those responsible for the criminal and anti-social use of fireworks are brought to account.

Planning for this year has been ongoing for several months, working alongside Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Scottish Government, SSPCA and City of Edinburgh Council to name a few. We will be engaging with young people through schools and our youth services partners around the risks associated with fireworks.

We will be working with housing partners and waste services around collections throughout Edinburgh and conducting joint activity throughout October with Trading Standards to ensure the responsible sale and security of fireworks. Our officers will also be out with our partners in Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams engaging with staff and public. There will be a zero tolerance approach towards violence and threatening behaviour.

Please have a discussion with any young people under your care or supervision about the dangers of handling, purchasing or setting off fireworks. In the run up to bonfire weekend dispose of your rubbish appropriately, consider bin storage and report anti-social behaviour to the council or Police Scotland, where there is disorder or criminality, on 101 or in an emergency 999.

Alternatively you can report anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800555111 or information on illegal sales and storage of fireworks to Trading Standards. For more advice please go to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service website and search bonfire safety or the SSPCA website at scottishspca.org and search Firework Safety.

You will see the work delivered in partnership in the lead up to, and over, bonfire weekend across our social media platforms alongside more information on fireworks and bonfire safety.

I now want to focus on the work that my officers have carried out to keep North East Edinburgh across the summer period to keep our communities safe and tackle criminality. In response to anti-social behaviour and significant disorder at Portobello in previous years we engaged with communities, listened to what is important to you and have worked extensively with partners introducing the Summer@Portobello campaign.

This year marked the second annual campaign involving youth diversion activities and inputs at schools, engagement partnership events, additional plain clothed and high visibility patrols, proactive road checks, business visits and tackling proxy purchasing alongside licensed premise visits. I went on patrol multiple times with a variety of our elected representatives to engage with the public and reflect on our approach. For the second year in a row call demand over the summer period has dropped significantly. Over a 90 per cent reduction in calls compared to 2021 with no significant incidents of disorder reported in the area.

I would like to thank you for your support through the summer and engagement with our officers.

Another update I wanted to touch upon due to the extensive work by my officers in North East Edinburgh supported by the community is in tackling motorcycle theft. Operation Soteria is our overarching response to motorcycle thefts and my Initiative Team, Response and Community officers in North East Edinburgh, have been working hard and continuing their efforts to identify offenders, prevent and deter incidents, and provide community reassurance.

Road safety and tackling acquisitive crime remains a priority in Edinburgh as a whole and such behaviour will not be tolerated. Partnership working is key, and our Prevention, Interventions and Partnerships team are also working to raise awareness and share crime prevention and security advice. During the summer so far in North East Edinburgh my officers have made eight arrests, libelled 30 charges, executing numerous warrants and recovered over £500,000 in stolen vehicles.

We will continue to work to ensure offenders are dealt with robustly. To allow us to target our activities, we encourage communities to report incidents via 101, and should anyone have information as to the identity of those placing communities at risk, this can be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111. For more information on security go to the Police Scotland website.

Chief Inspector Kieran Dougal, Local Area Commander North East Edinburgh