The vulnerable need our help to reduce crime - Superintendent Sam Ainslie

I learned very quickly during my early policing career that many of the incidents reported to police such as anti-social behaviour, acquisitive and drug related offending are committed by the most vulnerable in our communities, with poverty and wider inequalities often the recurring and underlying factors.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 7:00 am
Chief Inspector Sam Ainslie
Chief Inspector Sam Ainslie

It’s now widely accepted, that police cannot successfully tackle crime without acknowledging the root causes and looking for long-term solutions to address these complex issues. However, we cannot do so alone. Improving the safety and well-being of people, places and communities is aligned with our divisional policing priorities, and our officers work collaboratively with others, to both reduce, and ultimately prevent crime occurring in the longer term.

We remain committed to working with partners to deliver on Edinburgh's 10- year Community Plan, with the timescale reflective of the challenges posed. The plan is built around 3 priorities namely, Enough Money to live on; Access to Work, Learning and Training Opportunities and A Good Place to Live, with collective activity focused on key issues such as, income maximisation, housing, availability of advice services, creating training and employment opportunities for those most at risk and building places within the city with easy access to amenities and services.

Reducing risk to, and where possible, improving community cohesion, is another of our policing principles and we continue to work with a broad range of partners, including public and voluntary sector colleagues, to deliver a multi-agency approach.

This approach allows us to focus on early intervention, prevention and diversion. Working with other organisations and services to problem-solve, share data, and promote evidence-based practice, has formed the cornerstone of much of our work over many years. All of this supports our key priorities - preventing and detecting crime, maintaining order and protecting life and property.

As established custom and practice, our Community and School Link officers have worked in tandem with Education, Housing and Youth Engagement services to identify vulnerable people who are at risk of becoming involved in criminal activity and diverting them away from this path. For those who have already had some exposure to the criminal justice system, our aim is to promote positive lifestyle choices to reduce harm and stop recidivist offending.

These principles are also reflected within our partnership response to drug-related activity. Our innovative model is based around tailored education, prevention and intervention, with those with living and lived experience of the harm caused by drug abuse, assisting officers in delivering this approach. This practice has proven very successful in minimising long term detriments, supporting improved life chances and outcomes, and fundamentally, breaking the cycle of re-offending.

While I have focused on longer term endeavours, my Preventions , Interventions and Partnerships team continue to provide crime prevention advice focused on personal, home, digital and business security, and with that in mind, please visit for useful advice on a number of relevant topics.

Superintendent Sam Ainslie, Preventions, Interventions and Partnerships, Edinburgh Division