Fresh from my weekend as duty officer for the city, I was reminded of the unique nature of working in Edinburgh.
The city was host to more than a dozen events over the weekend, ranging in scale from gala days and fun fairs to the Moonwalk, the Rolling Stones concert and the Women’s Suffrage Procession yesterday – not forgetting the historic one-day international at The Grange between Scotland and England!
The context and significance of citywide events for local officers in South West – for local officers anywhere for that matter – may not be entirely obvious.
However, the officers who police those events are the very same officers that address and attend local issues, and it’s not uncommon for them to provide local and divisional coverage over the course of a shift.
On Saturday, I was struck by the fact that officers who had already worked an extensive shift at the Rolling Stones concert still had the commitment and enthusiasm to attend to local incidents on their way back, well after their shift had finished.
While the city will entertain millions of visitors over the summer, local policing teams will ensure local concerns and issues are addressed.
Drug and alcohol misuse remain the underlying causes of crime in disorder in South West Edinburgh, and that’s why we have a continued focus on addressing those issues.
Operation Aftermath is the South West’s approach to drug misuse, and associated crime and disorder, and sits under Operation Eagle, which is the divisional response.
Whilst only into its third week, local officers have executed warrants at premises known to be involved in drug supply, making 25 arrests and seizing £65,000 worth of controlled substances along with £4500 in cash. But we can only undertake that activity because of the engagement of the public and partners, and enforcement is only a small part of what we do. The real battle lies in diverting youngsters from that life, and the work of our colleagues in other public services and, significantly, in the voluntary sector, is key.
However, I would like to pay recognition to the people who have lived through adversity, and have emerged at the other side. People who have chosen to share their experience with young people. The message those role models have is credible and striking, and we know it has a massive impact on others.
Maybe you are someone who has lived through adversity, or maybe you know someone who has. If so, you should look up tyla.org.uk. You would make a massive difference to young people and their families.
Chief Inspector Alan Carson is Local Area Commander for South West Edinburgh.