Bonfire night criminals will be held to account - Neil Wilson

As I reflect upon the challenges of recent times, the scenes witnessed in some areas of Edinburgh on November 5 were distressing and have caused much worry and anxiety.

Chief Inspector Neil Wilson
Chief Inspector Neil Wilson

Sadly a number of my colleagues sustained injuries and the violent and unruly behaviour directed towards emergency services was deplorable and indefensible.

I am heartened, however, by the response of the city’s communities which shows their resilience, courage and resolve. There has been a collective recognition that the behaviour of a small minority was unacceptable and must be addressed. We have been inundated with information and intelligence in relation to those involved and we very much welcome the public support and that of partner agencies and elected representatives.

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For our part, we will not rest until those responsible for the wanton and mindless acts of violence and disorder are held to account for their behaviour. A dedicated investigation team is working around the clock to trawl through hundreds of hours of CCTV footage to identify those involved and catalogue their criminal acts for which they will be brought before the courts or to the attention of the youth justice system. However, the answer to the societal problems laid bare by Bonfire Night will not be solved in isolation and are not solely for the police and criminal justice system to address.

All stakeholders have a responsibility to tackle these issues and collectively we must examine the drivers of such behaviour and ensure that preventative, diversionary and restorative interventions are used, where appropriate, to redirect young people towards more positive and constructive life choices.

I joined the police service to help people, a motivation which drives me to this day. I take great pride in working alongside likeminded colleagues who I witness, day in and day out working in and for Edinburgh’s communities, committing themselves to selfless public service and often placing themselves in harm’s way in doing so.

Policing in this country is founded upon the consent of the public and there is nothing more important than maintaining the trust and confidence of the communities we serve. We will continue to strive to do so and I hope that, distressing though the scenes of November 5 were, they will serve as a reminder of the importance of this relationship.

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December’s festivities will herald new opportunities and challenges and our Winter City policing operation will begin on Friday. Look out for our officers as they patrol the streets of the Capital and follow our activity on Facebook at EdinburghPoliceDivision or on Twitter @EdinburghPolice #OpWinterCity.

Should you have any information which you believe would be of assistance to our investigations, please report this by calling 101. Alternatively, you can report matters anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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Chief Inspector Neil Wilson, Local Area Commander, North West Edinburgh