Comment: Positive Pilton crime figures

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This has not been a good year for Police Scotland, and it would be easy to take a bleak view of the effectiveness of officers on our streets. But beneath the problem headlines there is good work going on, too.

Today we report on a notable drop in violent attacks and theft in West Pilton and wider north Edinburgh in the wake of enhanced police intervention and tougher action on antisocial council tenants.

It provides an inspiring example of the beneficial results that can flow from concerted action by the police, the council and the local community.

The catalyst for change was a horrific stabbing in October last year when local Chinese takeaway owner Jie Yu was knifed by two thugs. The attempted murder sparked the launch of Stronger North, with additional police resources and tougher action brought to bear on local criminal elements.

A year on from the attack, police figures show that violent crime in north Edinburgh between April and September was down 18.5 per cent compared with the same period last year. Break-ins, including those to homes, sheds and businesses, were down by 18 per cent.

Overall vehicle crime, a persistent problem in the area, is down by a third. Lower-level antisocial behaviour and disorder is also down.

This is an area which has many problems, not least of these being poverty. But it is precisely because of those daunting social problems that this example acquires greater resonance. The joined-up action by the council and local community has clearly had a significant impact in reducing crime.

The community council now has agencies identifying families having difficulties at an early stage, from primary school through youth projects. Other endeavours include a group working with families who may have been linked with criminal activities and a community leadership academy, which aims to equip local residents with leadership skills.

Of course it should not surely not require a savage attack to catalyse such a drive against crime and anti-social behaviour. But when the consequences of complacency and neglect are so cruelly exposed, it serves as awake-up call for everyone in the area. And it sets an inspiring example for other challenged areas to follow.