Police identify nine ‘hot spots’ for firework-related disorder in Edinburgh ahead of Bonfire Night

Police chiefs prepare for anti-social behaviour and disorder at Gilmerton, Moredun, Southhouse, Gorgie, Saughton, Portobello, Loganlea, Pilton and Muirhouse.

Monday, 1st November 2021, 4:55 am

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To combat potential dangers the Edinburgh Police Division has set up nine dispersal zones in these high-risk locations.

The zones will be in operation between 2pm and midnight from Thursday, November 4 and Saturday, November 6.

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Despite previous dispersal zones yobs left a trail of wreckage.

The dispersal zones will give the police the right to ask any group or two or more people thought to be engaging in anti-social behaviour to disperse and not to return to the area for 24-hours.

Emergency services crew members have been repeatedly targeted in Edinburgh on November 5 in recent years.

In 2020, some parts of the city were declared ‘no-go zones’ in a bid to control gangs of youths.

But there were still violent incidents and the Saughton Park area was labelled a ‘war-zone’ by locals after motors were torched as youths ran amok with fireworks.

Police chiefs warn that individuals can also face arrest if they do not comply with rules and/or return to any of the nine dispersal zones after being asked to leave.

Two fire crews had to call for police back up after they were tasked to deal with a huge out of control bonfire the height of a house in Saughton Mains Park.

In 2018, Police Scotland set up Operation Moonbeam, a nationwide effort to clampdown on thuggery during the annual Bonfire and Halloween periods.

But in 2019, firework exclusion zones had to be introduced after a string of incidents which saw motors and other property set ablaze by out of control teenager.

Fears of a repeat of the scenes prompted the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service(SFRS) and Police Scotland to urge people to heed safety warnings.

The SFRS said there were 12 attacks on crews on Bonfire Night 2020.

Police have developed Operation Crackle 2021 to combat firework-related anti-social behaviour

Speaking to the Evening News, Chief Inspector Murray Tait said the hot spots have been identified using data collected from previous Bonfire Night activities.

Mr Tait said: “Over the past few months we have been analysing the previous demand on the division and identifying the continued areas that are a hot spot for firework-related disorder and criminality.

“We have used this data to develop our resource plan for Operation Crackle 2021 - our local response to Bonfire Night.”

He said that local policing teams have been working alongside colleagues from Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to engage with young people at schools and highlight the dangers of behaving recklessly with fireworks.

Mr Tait said: “We know however that the emergency services alone cannot prevent young pope engaging in such activities and parents and guardians have a vital role to play too.

“Please have open and frank conversations with those in your care about how their lives can be severely impacted if they are injured, or injure another while messing around with fireworks.”

For full details on the dispersal zones are on Edinburgh Police Division's Facebook page.

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