Edinburgh police subjected to ‘unprecedented violence’ in Niddrie as youths launch fireworks and petrol bombs at officers
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Images showing the chaotic scenes in Edinburgh during bonfire night reveal the extent of antisocial behaviour last night as large groups of youths targeted vehicles, buildings and police officers with fireworks, petrol bombs and other projectiles.
Police officers in riot gear rushed to the Niddrie area of Edinburgh after reports of large groups of young people lobbing fireworks at vehicles and property. Officers formed a line using riot shields as youths launched fireworks and petrol bombs at their feet.
It is understood a number of officers were treated for minor injuries during last night’s events and police say around 50 youths were responsible. They added the group’s behaviour escalated when police arrived - with teenagers having attacked both uniformed and Public Order Officers with projectiles.
Last year, several areas across the Capital saw cases of antisocial behaviour on November 5, where officers were also attacked by youth gangs as they carried out Operation Moonbeam - a 2018 initiative to tackle Bonfire Night Disorder.
Assistant Chief Constable Tim Mairs, gold commander for Operation Moonbeam said: “Police Scotland officers were subjected to unprecedented levels of violence, and yet they continued to demonstrate professionalism and dedication to keeping communities safe. I am both proud of, and grateful to, all of those who were on duty and put themselves in harm’s way to protect the public during this very challenging time.”
Other incidents were recorded around the country, including Dundee and Glasgow, but police say that events in Niddrie were ‘extremely concerning’. Detectives investigating the attacks on officers within Niddrie are actively pursuing a number of individuals, who they believe were providing local youths with fireworks and petrol bombs to target police. Inquiries into this matter are continuing.
Police say that while only a small number of arrests were made on the evening as a result of the significant challenges officers faced to ensure no harm came to communities, substantial pieces of evidence have already been gathered and dedicated inquiry teams have been established to progress these investigations. It is anticipated further arrests will take place in the coming days.
Assistant Chief Constable Tim Mairs said: “The overwhelming majority of Scotland enjoyed Bonfire Night safely and responsibly, but once again, a minority of individuals have been responsible for an unacceptable and frankly, disgusting level of disorder that left communities alarmed and police officers injured. We took learning from last year’s operation and enhanced the level of Public Order resources available to local policing divisions to ensure we could get these assets into locations they were needed quicker, providing a more robust response to criminal incidents.
“The lower levels of disorder experienced in other parts of the country demonstrates that this approach was the correct one. Our partnership work ensured that there was a reduction in damage to public property and that, overall, the emergency services and wider communities were better protected. However, the violent nature of the situation witnessed in the Niddrie area of Edinburgh is extremely concerning, not least because it is believed young people were being actively encouraged and coordinated by adults to target officers while they carried out their duties.
“Investigations into the offences that arose throughout Scotland on Sunday evening are continuing and we will make every effort to ensure anyone who was involved is identified and brought to justice. If any members of the public believe they have information that can assist our inquiries, then please contact us via 101, or make an anonymous report to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
Council leader, Cammy Day condemned the behaviour on X. He said: “ I’m appalled to see the scenes in Niddrie this evening. This behaviour is unacceptable. We’ve been working with our partners and in our communities to mitigate Bonfire Night related disruption, so it is extremely disappointing to see a minority of people behaving in this way.”
He added: “This reckless behaviour endangers lives and like the majority of people in the community, I share in their dismay and upset at this disgraceful behaviour. I would reassure residents that we are working closely with Police Scotland to ensure the community are safe and appeal to anyone who can help identify those responsible to contact police so they can be dealt with appropriately by the justice system.”