Ch Insp Murry Starkey: We’ll crack down on drug use in common stairs

Police in South East Edinburgh regularly receive calls from concerned tenants and homeowners about people taking or selling drugs in a common stair. Picture: John  Devlin
Police in South East Edinburgh regularly receive calls from concerned tenants and homeowners about people taking or selling drugs in a common stair. Picture: John Devlin
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As this is my first Capital Cops column, I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to the communities in the city centre and south of Edinburgh.

My name is Murray Starkey and I’ve taken over as Local Area Commander replacing Helen Harrison who has been promoted to Temporary Superintendent within Edinburgh Division’s Command Team at St Leonard’s. I’d like to thank Helen for all of the excellent work she has done in the role and I will do my utmost to maintain the outstanding level of community engagement and partnership working, which she has overseen during her time.

The bulk of my 18-year police service has been spent within the city centre and Southside areas of the city, so local people in these communities can be reassured that I am already well acquainted with the area and the officers under my command, as well as the issues that affect local residents and businesses.

One such matter which I know is of concern to many members of the public is drug misuse, particularly within common stairs. Across the South East we regularly receive calls from concerned tenants and homeowners in relation to individuals either consuming or selling drugs within a common stair.

These offences will not be tolerated and whenever we receive information about drug dealing we respond accordingly. Recently, enforcement activity was carried out within the Southside and Newington areas where various people were identified and reported for drug offences. We will continue to target those responsible for these crimes and ensure they cannot blight our streets and homes.

Antisocial behaviour is another issue which continues to arise across the region and a large number of the calls we receive relate to youth-related antisocial behaviour.

I want to stress that the vast majority of young people living within the South East are a credit to themselves, their families and their schools. However, there is a minority that get involved in disorder, vandalism and similar incidents, which negatively impacts upon the areas affected.

Ward officers have carried out a significant amount of patrols within Liberton and Gilmerton over the past month, with particular attention paid to the Moredun, Hyvot, Gracemount, Southhouse and Burdiehouse.

We have also spent time in Moredun library and the high rise flats, as well as Cameron Toll, where we continue to liaise with the management. We’ve also held two very successfully crime prevention events in partnership with the South East Crime Prevention Panel. Encouragingly, quite a few children recognised the officers from recent school visits and were keen to stop for a chat.

It might be hard to believe given recent weather, but summer is fast approaching and our work with relevant partners for the upcoming Edinburgh Festival will shortly begin in ernest. The Capital during Festival season is one of the most amazing places in the world to be in and we will be working as hard as always to ensure it is a safe an enjoyable experience for all of those who live work and visit over the summer.

I’d encourage all residents and businesses to continue to call us if they know where potential criminality is taking place as we will respond and action will be taken against those involved. Information can be passed to your local officer, to Police Scotland on 101 or anonymously to the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

As always, daily policing updates are posted to our @EdinPolSE Twitter account, so please follow us for regular information on what’s happening in your community.

Chief Inspector Murray Starkey is the Local Area Commander for South and East Edinburgh