We’re tracking down Bonfire Night offenders - Chief Inspector Kieran Dougal

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In my first column of 2023 I want to first of all focus on a recent operation that took place in the North East in the wake of some of the Bonfire Night disorder we witnessed in the area back in November.

A dedicated team was formed and proactive policing action took place within Niddrie and Hays involving our initiative team, response and community policing in tandem with some key partners which supports the wider divisional work that has led to 17 people being charged with numerous offences on 5 November. We continue to bring further offenders to justice and work is ongoing with the Crown Office around these enquiries.

Officers carried out high-visibility patrols in these areas to speak with local residents, business owners and other members of the community to offer relevant crime prevention and personal safety advice and address any issues that were identified.

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In addition, we raised awareness of proxy purchasing, and the offences of buying or supplying alcohol to individuals under the age of 18.

Chief Inspector Kieran Dougal is Local Area Commander, North East EdinburghChief Inspector Kieran Dougal is Local Area Commander, North East Edinburgh
Chief Inspector Kieran Dougal is Local Area Commander, North East Edinburgh

Proactive work by plain-clothes officers supported by our specialist resources has seen 12 warrants executed and over £6,000 cash seized, along with various quantities of drugs.

We ran numerous community drop-in centres with our command vehicle in situ, to listen to your views and advertising some of our wider work and ongoing operations. I myself, will be out with my officers this week and Places for People supporting litter picks, business visits, partner inputs and using the opportunity to speak with the public.

In the Leith area, we recently carried out a campaign to reduce antisocial behaviour in the area. The campaign is called Beat The Boredom and the aim was to inspire young people, encourage positive steps and mindsets with the use of sport, crafts and music.

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It is well documented that art and music exposure does more than provide a creative outlet to the youth. It provides mental, emotional, and educational benefits by boosting the brain, improves academic achievements, can improve memory, enhance creativity, improves social skills, improves reading and language skills, enhances critical thinking, builds confidence, creates cultural and personal connections, and instils discipline.

The initiative ran in two stages and both were a huge success. In a previous column I provided an update on our summer football camp in collaboration with Hibernian Football club, Leith Academy, YMCA and many more. Our recent stage has targeted youths who had been involved in antisocial behaviour and minor vandalism to the local allotments. Having identified those responsible, and in consultation and partnership with the allotment owners and renters, educational events took place within the allotments where the owners and renters taught the youths how to grow flowers and vegetables, and how to make items out of wood. The youths found it beneficial and criminality has dramatically reduced in the area. Parents were delighted with the approach, with one parent stating they felt they had got their child back after months of bad behaviour.

Another Beat The Boredom event is planned for the Easter holidays and will focus on cookery classes for young adults. We have a number of other operations in their infancy which I will look forward to advertising in my next column.

Road safety remains a divisional priority and in the North East we have been focusing on making our roads safer for commuters, residents and pupils going to school. Working alongside DVLA, schools and other specialists departments we have conducted a series of road checks and focused patrols as well as our Safely to School initiative.

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During the last quarter, our road safety activity resulted in over 400 vehicle stops, more than 120 issued tickets, nine arrests for drink-driving, 21 no insurance seizures, eight stolen vehicle recoveries and £5,000 of drug recoveries, leading to enforcement warrants.

We also remain committed to tackling drug crime in the North East and over the past few months, numerous drugs warrants have been executed, with around £200,000 worth of Class A, B and C drugs recovered. This is in addition to the ongoing work taking place in Leith to address drug-related crime, which, so far has seen around £1.3million in drug seizures.

Follow us on Twitter at @EdinPolNE for all of our policing updates and look out for our upcoming rearranged Emergency Services Day in Leith with the date and details of the day soon to be announced.

Chief Inspector Kieran Dougal is Local Area Commander, North East Edinburgh

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