Events are coming fast and furious – but police are ready
As the curtain comes down on another Festival, I’d just like to express my sincere gratitude to all my staff, and our partners, who have worked tirelessly round the clock to make it another policing success.
The scale of what we have had to deal with is worth highlighting. The combined audience for the cultural events in the city has topped four million this year when the 217,000 attendees at the Tattoo and the 290,000 estimated attendees at the visual art festival shows and exhibitions are taken into account. More than three million people flocked to Edinburgh to enjoy the Fringe, an increase of 1.25 million in the space of a decade and up more than 150,000 in the space of just 12 months. The International and Book festivals have also reported a surge in business. These figures are record attendances.
In addition to being an exceptionally busy time for my officers, it was just as busy for our partners at City of Edinburgh Council and transport providers across the city, as well as the hotel and accommodation services, given the large influx of people within the capital.
Operation Summer City involved the deployment of officers from across the country, not just those based in Edinburgh, and to all of the divisions who provided us with vital resource, and the officers who showed such dedication and professionalism over the past month, my sincerest thanks.
I am acutely aware of the impact the population swell has on normal daily life and, as always, we will sit down with our partners and other stakeholders to review our approach to the Festival period and seek ways to improve how we deal with its many challenges.
That said, I’m pleased to be able to reassure the Edinburgh public that there were no serious crimes linked to the Festival and ‘business as usual’ policing during this period saw continued strong performance in combating violence, anti-social behaviour and acquisitive crime across the Capital.
I must, though, mention the uncertainty that the current political climate, particularly around Brexit, brings to policing in Edinburgh and elsewhere. Already we have seen a number of (thankfully) peaceful demonstrations in the city centre and outside the Scottish Parliament building and my officers and staff are ready to respond in seeking to ensure the safe exercising of democratic rights to protest. However, I would urge those who are motivated to take part to act within the law and please listen to any police instructions in order to maintain a safe and secure environment.
As we look towards the return of thousands of university students and freshers, Hallowe’en and Bonfire Night, I can’t help think that Fast and Furious 9 have picked an entirely appropriate film set location in the heart of our glorious city!
My sincere thanks once more – the reputation of Edinburgh Division gets ever stronger and I’ve no doubt we will all do it just as well again for Winter City and Hogmanay.
Chief Superintendent Sean Scott is the Area Commander for Edinburgh.