Never a dull moment in event policing - David Robertson

It’s my great pleasure to provide the first Capital Cops column of 2023 and I want to start by wishing Edinburgh’s communities a very Happy New Year.

Superintendent David Robertson
Superintendent David Robertson

As Specialist Operations Superintendent for Edinburgh, I have responsibility for licensing, counter terrorism and road safety as well as events and operational planning, an area which has been particularly busy over the last few months.

The culmination of 2022’s events calendar for the Capital concluded on 31 December, when we once again supported event organisers to deliver Edinburgh’s world famous and sold out Hogmanay street party. Tens of thousands of revellers braved the cold and rain to bring in the bells in the city centre once again. Significant planning and preparation was undertaken ahead of the city’s first street party since 2019 and I am pleased to say that it passed without serious incident and with no arrests.

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My thanks go out to all of the officers, stewarding staff and other personnel who worked diligently to ensure the celebrations were memorable for all the right reasons.

Even though Hogmanay is now behind us, there is never a dull moment when it comes to event policing in our division.

Earlier this year saw the return of major events to the Capital following a hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Once again the world’s eye was upon us as we welcomed back international rugby, football, recording artists and, of course, the Edinburgh International Festival.

September saw the largest policing operation we have ever delivered as a service, during one of the most solemn and historic moments our country has ever seen. I was immensely proud to lead Edinburgh Division’s response to the death of Her Majesty the Queen, where police officers, staff and our partners demonstrated incredible flexibility, resilience and professionalism.

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We were tested again in November when a small minority of individuals engaged in truly reckless behaviour on Bonfire Night in the North West and South West localities. As the North and East of Scotland Public Order Commander for Operation Moonbeam, our national specialist response, I was able to draw upon significant resources to prevent any further escalation or serious injury. The dangerous and mindless behaviour exhibited was completely unacceptable, caused damage and distress to communities and will simply not be tolerated.

Our dedicated post incident investigation has resulted in 14 individuals being charged for their part in the disorder, with inquiries continuing at pace to bring further offenders to justice. We are indebted to Edinburgh’s communities for their support and assistance and will continue to work for them and with them, alongside stakeholders, to protect the public.

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Planning is now underway for this year’s Six Nations rugby internationals and thereafter our discussions will begin in earnest for other large-scale events taking place in the city, such as Edinburgh derby matches, the International Festival and Fringe,and then Bonfire Night and the festive celebrations.

My best wishes go to you all for 2023, please keep yourselves and each other safe and follow us on Twitter @EdinburghPolice for further updates and crime prevention advice.

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Superintendent David Robertson, Specialist Operations, Edinburgh Division