Organised crime and County Lines add to workload - DCI Graham Grant
The last time anyone from Edinburgh’s CID provided a Capital Cops column the city and the whole country was still subject to Covid restrictions that limited interactions in public.
In addition, our licensed premises and other hospitality venues were either closed or had restricted opening times. Now we see a return to many of these things, our venues, our entertainment and indeed, to the new student population who we welcome to our city for the year ahead.
The unique situation last year undoubtedly had an impact on the level of crime we saw within the division between 2020 and early 2021. However, as we have seen from the release of our first quarterly Management of Information data, crime rates are now returning to pre-COVID levels and it is important that we respond to this appropriately – keeping the city as safe as it can be and reassuring our communities that we are committed to keeping crime as low as possible.
Across the Central Belt, including, Edinburgh there’s been a recent series of high-value housebreakings, where high-value and high-performance cars have been stolen. We have well established communication structures in place to drive a cross-divisional response to crimes of this nature and allows us, a single force, to share information and resources.
Housebreakings are something that have impacted on the division for many years and we have worked hard with the communities to robustly respond which has, thankfully, delivered significant reductions year on year.
While we continue investigations in respect of the recent spate of housebreakings, my advice to communities in Edinburgh is to take all the necessary security precautions around your home to help prevent further incidents. Of course these crimes can occur at any time of the day, but as we move into the darker nights we have to consider ways to maximise security - please ensure all doors and windows are locked if you retire for the evening, or if you leave your property unoccupied.
Likewise, remember that sheds, garages and outbuildings are extensions of your home and should also be appropriately secured at all times. To prevent your car keys being easily stolen then please do not leave these near your door. We would also advise that, if possible you consider investing in house alarms, motion-activated lighting and CCTV to safeguard your home and its belongings thoroughly.
Over the past few months, there have been a number of acts of extreme violence carried out within the city over the past few months, where those involved are linked to organised crime. Such offences present us with a number of challenges, not least the difficulty in getting information relating to the full and accurate circumstances. Once again the assistance of the public is crucial, as well as calling upon specialist resources from the wider Police Scotland network.
Positively, our collective work investigating these matters has led to a number of individuals having been identified and dealt with accordingly. We take every opportunity to deal with those perpetrating violence and involved in serious organised crime in our communities as robustly as possible.
I want to finish off by focussing on an issue, which is becoming ever-more prevalent and that is County Lines. Last week, one such example of this sort of crime occurred, spanning the UK, with Edinburgh and London links. As a result of joint working between Police Scotland and the Met Police, £500,000 worth of criminal assets were seized and in turn helped dismantle the work of the crime group profiting from the misery of members of our own communities.
Once again, despite the geographical challenges it is the support of the public locally that allows us to carry out such work and I would urge anyone who believes they have information relating to ongoing criminality in their area, to contact police immediately.
Detective Chief Inspector Graham Grant, Edinburgh CID