Ch Insp Richard Thomas: ‘hard work will continue’

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I am responsible for approximately 260 officers in the west of Edinburgh. It’s a busy, diverse area that extends from South Queensferry to Balerno, and covers the council wards of Almond, Drumbrae-Gyle, Corstorphine-Murrayfield, Sighthill-Gorgie, Fountainbridge-Craiglockhart, Colinton-Fairmilehead, and Pentland Hills.

My job is to keep people safe by focusing on the priorities identified by the community. Those are violence, antisocial behaviour, housebreaking and road safety.

My officers work around the clock responding to 999 incidents that range from domestic abuse cases to sudden deaths. I am very proud of the work that they do, and often receive messages of thanks from the public recognising their professionalism and compassion in what are often traumatic circumstances.

Community policing is at the heart of everything we do and my community officers work closely with colleagues from partner agencies, including social work, housing, fire service, services for communities and the third sector.

We deal with a wide range of complex and demanding incidents, from neighbour disputes and child protection cases to drug dealing and hate crimes. Operation Cipher is a multi-agency initiative aimed at improving community safety and wellbeing. We work with partners and local residents to reduce crime and address quality of life issues. It’s about making sure people feel safer while taking an active role in priority setting and community building.

Edinburgh is one of the safest places to live in the UK, due in no small part to our officers working with communities to ensure that people are safe at home and in public.

Serious violent crime has fallen by 11 per cent compared with last year – that’s 18 fewer victims, and we solve over 80 per cent of those cases. In addition, 120 offensive weapons, such as knives, have been seized under stop and search powers since April in my area alone. Domestic abuse incidents have fallen by 17 per cent, or 190 fewer victims, than last year to date. It’s an issue that we take very seriously and we encourage anyone suffering domestic abuse to report it to us.

Rest assured that during the holiday season we will be working hard to keep you safe and secure over the festive period and beyond.

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Chief Inspector Richard Thomas is Local Area Commander for the west of Edinburgh for Police Scotland