Number of serious assaults in the city centre is significantly down - Chief Inspector Mark Hamilton

Chief Inspector Mark Hamilton, Local Area Commander, South West EdinburghChief Inspector Mark Hamilton, Local Area Commander, South West Edinburgh
Chief Inspector Mark Hamilton, Local Area Commander, South West Edinburgh
​The South East of Edinburgh is a vibrant area which encompasses the city centre along with residential communities including Liberton, Gilmerton, Newington and Morningside.

We have a diverse population too with many families having lived in the area for generations along with a student population, visitors to the city and others. The policing team have been busy engaging with communities and tackling issues and I am pleased to say they have made some really positive progress.

During spring there were issues of antisocial behaviour, thefts and assaults in the Morningside area. Local Community Officers gathered evidence and engaged with our School Link Officers which led to nine youths being identified and ultimately charged with 77 offences

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I am aware that the incidents had a powerful impact on some of the community and businesses, so the Community Inspector met with the local traders and elected officials to discuss their concerns and provide ongoing support. It is heartening to see that the issues in that area have significantly reduced.

Anti-social behaviour at Hunter Square is an issue the police are tacklingAnti-social behaviour at Hunter Square is an issue the police are tackling
Anti-social behaviour at Hunter Square is an issue the police are tackling

Hunter Square is also an area where we regularly see issues, particularly in spring and summer, and community and plain-clothes officers in the city centre have been focusing on that particular problem.

A large number of the people who gather in the Hunter Square area have additional vulnerabilities and while we will always target criminality and arrest those responsible, it is important we work with partners to support vulnerable people and divert them to a more positive lifestyle.

In 2023 an Initiative called Wellbeing Wednesday was run in partnership with Simon Community Scotland and was specifically aimed at individuals who gather at Hunter Square. The initiative was a success and led to a significant reduction in police incidents and improvements in individual wellbeing, with over 500 presentations for support over the period it was running.

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I am pleased to say that further funding has been established for 2024 and the initiative is being widened to cover more than one day of the week and will run throughout the year. Simon Community Scotland have driven this project, and I am extremely grateful for the commendable work they have done on this long-standing issue.

The city centre also has one of the most vibrant nighttime economies in the country and we continue to support that every weekend with Operation NightGuard. Officers carry out high visibility patrols and engage with members of the public, licensed premises and work with volunteers from Street Assist and Street Pastors to reduce disorder and ensure the city remains a safe place to visit and socialise. I am pleased to report that serious assaults are reduced from last year and significantly down for the five-year average.

Our commitment to working with partners to tackle violence and antisocial behaviour in the South East Locality will remain a priority.

Chief Inspector Mark Hamilton, Local Area Commander, South East Edinburgh

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