After two years away, I was really pleased to see the commitment and enthusiasm of local officers in responding to the needs of the North West Edinburgh community has not diminished.
As I write, officers are dashing out the door before the end of their briefing responding to reports of a person acting suspiciously near a home in the area . . . just the type of response you or any member of your family would hope to receive.
I know from feedback through community councils, police drop-ins and raised through local elected representatives that housebreaking remains an area of concern for residents.
I am reassured that recent figures for North West show domestic housebreaking is down around 22 per cent on the year before and this focus on housebreaking will continue.
There is a real partnership approach to tackling housebreaking – working with partners in the criminal justice system to reduce reoffending and prevent crime. There are a number of simple steps householders can take to protect their home outlined on the Police Scotland website. We work closely with Neighbourhood Watch Scotland, community councils and others to ensure this message reaches local people.
Reducing housebreaking is also about working with offenders before and after sentence to reduce reoffending. This ranges from enforcing curfews, working with housing support providers and supporting others to improve employability skills to seeking longer-term solutions to address offending behaviour.
Partnership working continues to strengthen and develop in a number of other areas across North West and enhance the effectiveness of services to the local community. The Family and Household Support Team and local funded ward officers work closely with City of Edinburgh Council, social work, healthcare professionals and many others on a daily basis to tackle antisocial behaviour and support local vulnerable people. There is a real focus on preventing as well as detecting crime or other incidents from taking place, and it is making a real difference in addressing quality of life issues.
Motorcycle crime and antisocial behaviour is another area of focus, with progress being made across the city. The recent enforcement action after the bike rally in January saw over 30 people charged and a number of vehicle notices served. This sends out a clear message that this type of antisocial and often dangerous activity will not be tolerated and we continue to work closely with partners to deter and detect offenders. In addition to ongoing education and preventative action, I hope the recent launch of police off-road motorcycles and Selecta DNA tagging spray alongside the continued support of national Road Policing and other specialist resources will assist in preventing and detecting such activity.
If you want to find out more about policing in North West Edinburgh then follow us on Twitter @EdinPolNW or see “Edinburgh Police Division” on Facebook.
And the person acting suspiciously? Now in police custody.
Chief Inspector David Happs made a return to North West Edinburgh in February to take over as Local Area Commander.