Fun days laid on for Edinburgh youths to prevent Bonfire Night mayhem
POTENTIAL troublemakers will have activities laid on to prevent a flare-up of Bonfire Night mayhem across the Capital.
A similar scheme last year saw 999 calls fall by a quarter after youths were sent on silent discos, gladiator duels and pizza making courses in Ratho.
Under-siege residents cowered in their homes in 2017 as cars were torched and emergency workers attacked by up to 50 youths with fireworks and rocks in Restalrig and Craigentinny.
"anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated”
Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary Liam Kerr said: “Given this scheme appears to have been a success last year, it’s difficult to argue against the police doing it again.
“The priority has to be the safety of the general public, and if that is enhanced by removing known trouble-makers, that’s what officers have to do.
“It’s important that while these young people are a captive audience of the police, they are warned in no uncertain terms that anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated.”
Between Hallowe'en and Bonfire Night last year, reported antisocial behaviour in the city fell from 747 incidents last year to 552 this year - 195 fewer calls and a drop of 26 per cent. There were also 28 fewer offences involving fireworks across the Capital - equating to an 11 per cent fall.
Police and council chiefs attributed the drop to the activities laid on for youngsters and a targeted crackdown by officers.
Troublespots were designated as no-go areas with police given powers to move any groups of youths.
And officers went door-to-door to those caught up in the 2017 trouble in the lead-up to last year’s festivities warning them off any repeat.
Despite the successes, pockets of "small disorder, disturbances and reckless behaviour" were reported in the North West and North East of Edinburgh last year.
Nine arrests were made on the evening, with eight relating to culpable and reckless conduct and breaches of the peace, and a further an outstanding warrant.
Three youths were also charged illegal possession of fireworks - but officers in protective gear on standby were not deployed.
Groups of youths were moved on 13 times from the dispersal zones.
Persistent problems have prompted a call for the ban of fireworks on-sale to the general public.
“We saw a reduction in anti-social behaviour and criminal activity last year, so we want to repeat our approach,” said Councillor Amy McNeese-Mechan, Chair of the Edinburgh Community Safety Partnershipanti-social behaviour will not be tolerated.”
“Last year we explored ways of engaging young people during the bonfire firework period and raising awareness of the hazards of combining antisocial behaviour and fireworks and bonfires.”