Edinburgh’s top police officer has blasted gangs of yobs who left parts of the city in flames during violent attacks on mercy crews and called on the community to support efforts to bring them to justice.
In an appeal for help, Chief Superintendent Kenny MacDonald urged parents in north Edinburgh to help stamp out antisocial behaviour asking “what lessons we are teaching our children” if youths are allowed to turn on emergency services.
Writing exclusively in today’s Evening News, he pledges: “I cannot and will not accept that this is the type of Edinburgh we want to live in.”
The city policing commander writes: “What lessons we are teaching our children if attacking the police with fireworks and bottles, burning other peoples cars, threatening and attacking fire service crews as we have now seen over the last two years goes unchallenged.”
He slams the “reckless and criminal conduct” of young people in the Drylaw and Craigentinny areas who rampaged through the streets terrifying local residents and business owners over the Bonfire Night weekend.
“They also directly targeted my officers, who were on the ground trying to keep people safe,” he adds.
A female police officer, from the Drylaw policing team, suffered serious burns when yobs fired fireworks at her and other emergency workers.
Other officers, including a number of firefighters, were also subject to abuse and violence. The night of terror continued as youths roamed the streets of the city in a campaign of destruction.
Residents reported scenes of “devastation” as cars in Craigentinny were set ablaze and fire crews in Dalkeith and Blackburn were forced to retreat as they were attacked when they responded to separate calls at a farm and a skate park.
Reckless use of fireworks by the gangs of youths added to the horror of the night, described by some as a “warzone”.
General secretary of the Scottish Police Federation Calum Steele said today he was hopeful that a powerful message delivered by a senior officer will translate into real change for officers who operate in challenging environments on the streets, every day. He said: “It is encouraging to hear a senior officer use such strong language to condemn the extreme violence faced by the police on bonfire night.
“Our members on the ground will now be looking for that language to be translated into action and will be desperate to prove to the communities in the north of Edinburgh that the lawlessness that has blighted their lives will not be tolerated.”
And Tory councillor for Craigentinny John McLellan added: “Of course attacks on the police and emergency services are totally unacceptable and senior officers are right to speak out.
“We have to believe that the message will get through to some of those responsible, and if they take the briefest moment to think about what they’ve done then they will realise how stupid their behaviour has been.”
We’ll find yobs – Page 19