Chief Inspector David Robertson: Fires, Festival and Christmas festivities – it’s all go for officers
Since my last column, I’m delighted to report that throughout August, officers from South East Edinburgh contributed to delivering another safe and secure International Fringe Festival. Edinburgh hosted more than 4 million visitors, attending almost 60,000 performances across more than 300 venues with performers from over 60 countries, undertaking close to 6000 additional patrol hours.
As hard as it may be to believe, we are only a few short weeks away from Operation Winter City – Edinburgh Division’s annual policing campaign to keep the public safe over the festive period and our planning and preparation is well underway in this respect.
In the meantime, our current focus is on the darker nights, the October break and bonfire night.
Sadly, in recent weeks we have seen an increase in antisocial behaviour around the Southouse skate park. This is a great facility and those who have been setting fires there are placing themselves and others and at risk, may ruin the facility for other young people and are creating an unnecessary demand on police officers and firefighters.
Since the start of September, we have dealt with 15 such incidents and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has dealt with many more. This reckless behaviour takes emergency services away from important work helping those in need and it simply won’t be tolerated. Additional uniformed and plain clothes patrols are underway and I fully expect to make arrests as a result.
It’s really important that parents and guardians have open and frank conversations with those in their care about the risks and consequences of getting involved and we will be reinforcing these messages through our youth engagement programme.
If you believe you have any information relating to anyone involved in crimes of this nature, please contact us via 101 or make an anonymous report to the charity Crimestoppers on0800 555 111.
As we enter the October holidays officers will be undertaking additional patrols across the South East to engage with young people with the focus on positive engagement.
In the city centre, our focus will be on the east end of Princes Street which traditionally sees increased antisocial behaviour at this time of year and our City Centre Community Policing team will be supplemented by plain clothes patrols and will work closely with the British Transport Police and businesses to make this a safe place for people to enjoy responsibly.
During my last update I described our work with partners to support those sleeping rough in the city centre. Since then, I have become a member of the newly created Homelessness Taskforce which sees senior managers, officials and community representatives coming together to collaborate in this critical area. I am determined to find solutions with partners to tackle the most acute instances of rough sleeping that is all too prevalent.
As we move into the winter I will go on patrol with colleagues from Cyrenians who provide intensive outreach work to understand how best to support partners helping those who often have multiple complex needs.
Given the darker nights, I would like to take this opportunity to emphasise the importance of safeguarding your homes. Those intent on stealing your belongings will look to take advantage of any opportunities which arise, so please don’t make life easy for them.
Chief Inspector David Robertson is the Area Commander for the City Centre.