Edinburgh MSP says Meadows measures must ensure no repeat of anti-social behaviour seen a few weeks ago
Measures being introduced at the Meadows must ensure there is no repeat of the violence, anti-social behaviour and using the streets as a toilet which prompted complaints during recent sunny weather, an MSP has warned.
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Labour’s Daniel Johnson hosted an online community crisis meeting in response to residents’ concerns about the situation, which saw a police officer taken to hospital with facial injuries and a man smashed over the head with a glass bottle, as well as public urination and defecation.
Police Scotland have increased their foot patrol and mobile presence both in the Meadows and the surrounding streets and say they will continue to engage with the pubic and encourage compliance with Coronavirus regulations and the ban on drinking on the Meadows.
Temporary toilets are to be installed at the Meadows as part of a £450,000 investment in public loos at city hotpsots.
And the council’s mobile CCTV van is to be based in the Meadows from 2.30pm until 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays. The van will also drive around the surrounding lanes once an hour.
More visible signage is also being installed and there will be a social media campaign to encourage good behaviour.
Mr Johnson said: “I very much welcome the continued police presence and it’s also great to have increased toilet provision, but clearly more work needs to go on.
We need to ensure maximum usage of CCTV is in place, especially as the weather improves through the summer – we need to ensure we don’t see a return to the scenes we witnessed a few weeks ago.”
Police and council chiefs announced an action plan last month to tackle the problems at the Meadows, including a “substantial and visible” police presence from mid-morning to provide reassurance and early engagement with park users, as well as deployment of the council CCTV van over the course of the weekend to provide a visible deterrent to any anti-social behaviour and to assist in gathering evidence if required.
Park Rangers and Street and Environment Enforcement Officers are also being deployed to the Meadows on patrol to hand out black bags and advice on litter management.