Unbelievably, it is now only one week until Christmas and hopefully you are all ready for the big day.
Those of you who have visited the city centre over the past weeks, either to buy gifts for friends and loved ones, or to visit one of the licensed premises, will have undoubtedly seen an increased police presence as part of our ongoing festive safety campaign, Operation Winter City.
Our dedicated team of officers have been out on patrol providing the public with useful advice and guidance on crime prevention and personal safety, while keeping an eye out for any criminal activity so they can respond swiftly.
This increased police footprint will continue until the New Year, with significant resources being deployed for the Torchlight Procession and Hogmanay Street Party.
I would again remind the public that while the current UK threat level is severe, there is currently no intelligence to suggest any threat to Edinburgh or any of its events. However, we will never become complacent when it comes to public safety and will utilise enhanced resources to ensure the iconic event passes without incident.
As we count down to Christmas, our homes are likely to be filled with presents and other high-value items, which may be attractive to would-be thieves so please make sure you take appropriate security measures to safeguard your property. This includes sheds and garages and vehicles, which you might be using to store gifts before Christmas.
In addition to our efforts to promote crime prevention and personal safety, we continue to monitor Edinburgh’s road network and are actively targeting those who get behind the wheel having consumed alcohol or drugs. Your chance of being caught driving while under the influence have never been higher and if you are found behind the wheel while unfit, you will be arrested and charged and will lose your licence. Do not risk it.
Two of our Winter City officers, PC Bruce Burt and PC Leo Baker, also known as #Bruceo, have been taking to social media to offer up all the information you will need to keep your homes, belongings, and yourself, safe over the festive season. Each day a unique and specially-crafted message will appear on our Facebook page as part of our “Countdown to Christmas” calendar.
Our festive social media messaging has been really warmly received by the public across our six local Twitter pages and the Facebook account, reaching a potential 71,500 people every day. This supplements the face to face engagement that #Bruceo and other officers carry out on a daily basis as part of their role. A recent media article opted to criticise our innovative social media engagement and I found this extremely disappointing. Communities themselves use social media to chat, share news and react to the world around them, and we must be part of that conversation. I am glad to see that the public response to our social media content has been overwhelmingly positive.
As we look forward to the coming year, Edinburgh’s communities can rest assured that we remain committed to addressing the priorities they helped set through our consultation survey and other interactions. I relish the opportunity to build on our existing relationships with key partners to keep Edinburgh a safe place to live, work and visit.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, and a peaceful and prosperous 2018 when it arrives.
Chief Superintendent Kenny Macdonald is Divisional Commander for Edinburgh