Edinburgh police to be stationed in their own grotto this Christmas

Police officers will be working from inside a specially-made grotto this Christmas as part of the winter campaign to keep the public safe.

Saturday, 17th November 2018, 1:34 pm
Updated Saturday, 17th November 2018, 1:49 pm
Edinburgh's police officers are ready to keep people safe this Christmas. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Operation Winter City 2018 will see police resources deployed across the city to deter crime, respond top any incidents and maintain public safety.

Officers will have a high visibility presence within the city centre and other busy areas over the coming months including the specially-built police “grotto” which will be located within St Andrew Square.

Chief Inspector Helen Harrison, who is leading on Operation Winter City, said: “With Christmas and New Year now only a few short weeks away, we have once again launched Operation Winter City to ensure all of those living, working and visiting Edinburgh during this very special time of year remain safe.

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“Edinburgh over the festive period is one of the most vibrant and beautiful cities in the world and hundreds of thousands of people head to our city centre to go Christmas shopping, socialise with friends and family and of course, enjoy the world famous Hogmanay Street Party.

“With that in mind, we are devoting our resources accordingly, based on demand, and the public can expect to see lots of officers out and about between now and January as we look to engage with the public and deter crime within the city.

“If you’re in the city centre and wish to speak with officers, either to obtain crime prevention advice or public safety information, or to report a crime, then please visit our police grotto on St Andrew Square.

“For those of you familiar with our popular Countdown to Christmas social media calendar, this will also be returning again this year and Holly will be helping us deliver some safety messages in line with the ethos of Christmas.”

Officers are expected to continue to monitor Edinburgh’s road network, targetting those who get behind the wheel having consumed alcohol or drugs.

Those caught while under the influence will be arrested and charged and will lose their licence.

Significant resources are being deployed for the major events through the festive season including the Torchlight Procession and Hogmanay Street Party.

Their grotto will be open from 10am to 10.30pm each day until Saturday January 5, for anyone wishing to report a crime, speak with officers or obtain leaflets providing safety information.

Their Countdown to Christmas social media calendar has been launched with daily advice and tips.

Previous stars of the calendar include PD Chase and “Bruceo”, and fronting the campaign this year is 16-month-old Holly from Edinburgh, who has some safety messages she wants to share.

The adorable starlet will appear on the city’s Facebook and Twitter pages each day between December 1 and January 1, providing communities with a range of handy festive safety tips.

Winter City officers will also be appearing to give advice and show how the range of work they are doing within the city centre.

Anyone wishing to obtain these messages should like the Edinburgh Division Facebook page or follow the Edinburgh Police Twitter account.

Chief Insp Helen Harrison added: “As we do every year, we have and will continue to work closely with our relevant partners, including the City of Edinburgh Council and Essential Edinburgh.

“I’d like to thank both organisations for their continued support.

“On behalf of everyone within Edinburgh Division, I want to assure our communities that we are doing our utmost to keep you all safe during this festive season.”