In my role as Vice Convener of Culture and Communities at Edinburgh City Council and Chair of the Edinburgh Community Safety Partnership I have been able to look deeply at areas of community safety.
Following the events around Bonfire Night and the resulting damage I want to give reassurance that tackling these behaviours remains a priority for us all. The actions of the minority who set out to cause havoc and intimidate communities will not be tolerated.
Through our Antisocial Behaviour Strategy 2016-2019, we are working to reduce these incidents across the Capital through more effective working with our partners and increased community engagement.
Last week members of the Culture and Communities Committee were given an update on the strategy’s first year. The key elements of the strategy are prevention, intervention, enforcement and community engagement and I was delighted to see the progress made in those areas through new initiatives.
An investment of £2.6m for community policing services has resulted in dedicated police officers in every ward and police officers being linked to each of the council’s new Family and Household Support Teams. These teams provide support to individuals and families, so that issues including antisocial behaviour are addressed at an early stage. The teams are also able to apply for Antisocial Behaviour Orders, and ultimately evictions, if early intervention has not proved successful. We are therefore working to protect the wider community by using appropriate and effective action against the minority of people who are persistently involved in antisocial behaviour.
We also have a number of specific projects as part of the strategy to provide reassurance to the public, for example we fund Transport Marshals at four of the busiest city centre taxi stances on Friday and Saturday evenings. The Street Assist project also provides minor first aid, alcohol interventions and communication with pub/club door stewards who can contact the service if they become aware of an individual becoming vulnerable.
We are committed to the continuing success of the strategy through the locality model and will focus on embedding what works, enabling good practice to spread and demonstrating improved results for communities. We will ensure that we actively engage and communicate with communities about both the successes and the challenges of our strategy.
Each locality has a Community Improvement Partnership (CIP) in place where issues relating to antisocial behaviour and community safety are discussed and joint initiatives are taken forward. CIPs are held monthly in each locality where they discuss emerging trends and hotspots which allows allocation of resources and development of bespoke initiatives.
I believe Edinburgh is a safe and welcoming place and we will continue to work with the public and partner organisations to ensure that it remains so.
The Antisocial Behaviour Strategy is a collaborative approach, which allows the participating organisations to develop consistent approaches to tackling antisocial behaviour while at the same time improving public confidence in the local authority and emergency service response to offences of this nature.
Tackling issues like this takes a combined and multiagency response and we will continue to work with partners and Police Scotland on all antisocial behaviour issues across the city to ensure that Edinburgh remains a safe place for its residents.
I am committed to maintaining Edinburgh’s status as a safe place to live, work and visit and to improve the quality of life for the city’s communities. I am proud to be the council spokesman for this service and to work with them to ensure our safety and security.