As I write this month’s column, I do so from my usual office in St Leonard’s police station. While that might seem a strange way to start a conversation, I know that for many of us, the past week or so has proven extremely difficult in getting to our places of work, following the adverse weather we’ve experienced in the Capital.
The Beast From The East resulted in Scotland’s first ever red warning for snow and we were advising the public not to travel and where possible to stay indoors.
Despite this warning, of course, police officers, fire service, health and local authority and third sector agency staff continued to make it into their places of work to provide vital assistance to our communities.
I want to take this opportunity to thank all of those involved in keeping Edinburgh going during these very challenging circumstances.
While my officers were assisting the public with weather-related issues and helping ensure key partners could travel around the city, our partner agencies were continuing with their daily business to provide life-saving treatment and help to those in need.
I am really encouraged and proud by how we all came together collectively to provide such high levels of service to our communities and local residents and businesses must also be praised for how they assisted with our endeavours. From offering police officers hot drinks and meals, to occasionally helping dig out police vehicles, the community spirit we witnessed has been nothing short of extraordinary.
Staying on a positive note, you will have undoubtedly read in the Evening News that a significant number of arrests were recently made as part of Operation Pellucid, which was our response to on and off-road motorcycle disorder that took place across the city on Saturday, January 13.
Warrants have been executed at numerous addresses, resulting in 16 men aged between 15 and 47 being charged and reported to the Procurator Fiscal for a total of 69 charges. As part of this activity we have also issued 12 Asbos giving us power to seize motor bikes from offenders in future.
Our inquiries into the events of 13 January are still ongoing and further enforcement activity is planned to bring more offenders to justice and to keep people safe.
In addition to the outstanding partnership work and enforcement action I’ve just discussed, I am also immensely proud to recognise Edinburgh Division’s own PC Emma Morris who recently won the Probationer of the Year Award at the Scottish Policing Excellence Awards. Emma completed her probation in December 2017 and since April 2016 has been a vital part of the Craigmillar Response Team. Well done, Emma, and keep up the fantastic work, which has seen you recognised by Police Scotland’s highest-ranking officers.
On a related theme, tomorrow marks International Women’s Day, a celebration of all the amazing achievements and contributions women have made across the world. I am proud that female officers currently make up half of our Command Team, as well as occupying a significant proportion of leadership roles across the city.
Every day we strive to ensure that all of those working within Police Scotland are treated with fairness and respect and we expect those representing the force to do the same when dealing with our communities.
What we cannot do, however, is become complacent and we must, as a division, and a national police service, continue to look at improving how we present ourselves as a representative and inclusive organisation.
The public can help these efforts by engaging with us through our Your View Counts survey and through face to face contact with local officers.
T/Chief Supt Richard Thomas, Interim Divisional Commander for Edinburgh.