In my first column as the Local Area Commander for South West Edinburgh, I’d like to recognise the ongoing and extremely important work of my Local Alcohol and Violence Reduction Unit or LAVRU as they are affectionately known.
The unit is less obvious than the bright vests of our response and community officers, but the work they do is no less important or significant.
Much of what they do obviously involves tackling violence and alcohol misuse. However, a significant part of their time is spent responding to and developing intelligence in relation to the supply of controlled drugs.
They have also played a vital role in helping us tackle domestic abuse across the South West of the city.
It won’t come as a surprise when I say that domestic abuse is one of the most concerning types of crime in terms of the risk it represents to the vulnerable victims and families.
Divisionally, we have the Domestic Abuse Investigation Unit (DAIU) who focus on longer-term, more complex investigations, but locally we benefit from the LAVRU who I can task to conduct inquiries and identify offenders.
Our LAVRU were deployed for this specific matter twice during January, leading to the arrest and court appearance of two individuals. A further man was also arrested on a domestic abuse warrant last month.
This coordinated approach in utilising the DAIU and LAVRU to address domestic abuse undoubtedly contributed to a detection rate of 69.4 per cent this year to date.
While we remain committed to detecting all domestic abuse offences and encouraging victims to come forward, our main objective is to stop such instances occurring and by working alongside all relevant partners we want to educate the public on why such behaviour is totally unacceptable and signpost offenders to the appropriate support, which can deter them from committing these crimes. On that note, I think there is much to be enthusiastic about as the city-wide Domestic Abuse Strategy and Improvement Plan takes shape.
As well as domestic abuse related warrants, the LAVRU also pursue serious violence and cleared up five warrants in January.
It would be remiss of me not to acknowledge the work and effort undertaken to combat the misuse of controlled drugs – an issue, which we continues to be a community priority throughout South West Edinburgh.
This year to date, 253 charges have been made in relation to the supply, production or cultivation of controlled drugs, which is a 65 per cent increase compared to last year.
This accounts for more than half of the Edinburgh Division total and is largely down to the effort and dedication of the LAVRU.
In recent weeks, we have been focusing on thefts of pedal cycles which continue to account for a significant amount of crimes of dishonesty, and the LAVRU have been deployed on bikes with a view to engaging with the cycling community and those suspected of being in possession of a stolen cycle.
This resulted in a £3000 bike being seized from a male outside Pure Gym. Inquiries revealed it was stolen and we are continuing with our investigation into this matter.
I hope the contribution our LAVRU make to community safety is evident – they are an integral part of our ‘toolbox’ in South West Edinburgh. They are a team of four officers that are excellent at what they do, responding to constant yet ever changing demands in the locality.
They are, however, reliant on information from the public. We could not achieve these results without you – if you’re suspicious about something, whether domestic abuse, drug related or something entirely different – please report it to us.
Chief Inspector Alan Carson is the Local Area Commander for South West Edinburgh.