Time is right to relinquish capital’s police command - Sean Scott

Policing the capital city is an honour and a privilege especially when, for nearly five years, you’ve been as lucky as I have in leading an exceptionally talented and dedicated cadre of officers and staff who work tirelessly to keep the citizens of Edinburgh safe.
Chief Superintendent Sean ScottChief Superintendent Sean Scott
Chief Superintendent Sean Scott

However, despite still thoroughly enjoying the challenge, after almost 34 years of police service I have decided the time is right to retire and relinquish the capital’s police command.

My final working day will be Friday, January 26 after which I’m delighted to say that Chief Superintendent Emma Croft will proudly pick up the baton and, as someone who knows the capital well, will undoubtedly bring fresh skills and qualities to the Edinburgh command role and build upon existing positive relations with the community, elected members and key partners. Emma has often played a key role in major events and operations within the city, most recently as Silver Commander for the successful Hogmanay Street Party policing operation. I wish her well and I’ve no doubt she will enjoy the experience as much as I have.

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Reflecting on my time as Divisional Commander for Edinburgh, I’m proud of how the capital’s communities and partners worked so well with us in navigating the uncharted waters of Covid and coping with the unprecedented personal restrictions brought about by emergency legislation, enacted to keep us safe. I still have a great deal of sympathy for the pressures this social and legal sea-change placed upon all communities and demographics, especially the young and elderly, and I hope we never have to endure the same again.

The hearse carrying the coffin of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth is seen travelling along The Royal Mile in EdinburghThe hearse carrying the coffin of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth is seen travelling along The Royal Mile in Edinburgh
The hearse carrying the coffin of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth is seen travelling along The Royal Mile in Edinburgh

The change Covid brought to some of our working practices is still apparent to this day. Many of Police Scotland’s support staff and non-frontline officers now adopt a hybrid form of working, meaning they spend more time working at home, rather than within a physical office. This, along with financial considerations relating to the upkeep of some of our older estate, means a consultation period is currently underway to garner opinion on the potential disposal of some police buildings. While the loss of parts of our estate may be of a concern to communities, I want to stress that a reduction in estate does not equate to a reduction in our presence within the division. Work is ongoing to explore opportunities for co-location with key partners or to deploy from other premises and we will keep the public fully updated with the progress of the consultation process.

In addition to a global pandemic, a significant number of major policing operations have taken place in Edinburgh as a result of events occurring both within the UK and internationally. The death of Her Late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II at Balmoral resulted in the largest mobilisation of UK police resources to ensure the late Queen was safely and respectfully transported back to London, while at the same time allowing mourners to pay their respects as the funeral cortege made its way from Aberdeenshire to Edinburgh Airport, pictured.

Police Scotland officers were then involved in the mutual aid provided to the Met Police for the funeral proceedings in London and for the subsequent coronation of King Charles in 2023. My thanks go to all of Edinburgh Division’s policing personnel involved in these events who demonstrated why we are one of the best police services in the world.

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The aftermath of the US election, the invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas have resulted in significant levels of protest and demonstration across the world, including within the Capital. On each occasion we have provided a proportionate and appropriate policing response to facilitate lawful demonstration, keep those in attendance safe and mitigate against wider disruption to the rest of the city. While we are well-versed in policing protests, these type of events continue to present us with resourcing challenges, yet, I have always been extremely proud of our ability to engage positively with protesters and demonstrate that Police Scotland is a non-partisan party in such matters.

Like all public services, policing is enduring financial pressures but, because of the quality of people involved in both Edinburgh and wider Police Scotland I know that policing the capital is in good hands and, as a soon-to-be member of the public as opposed to the officer charged with delivering the service, I look forward to continuing to live in one of the world’s safest capital cities. Thank you for your support and I wish all the communities of Edinburgh health, happiness and prosperity for the future.