AS ever, there is a great deal happening in the world of policing in Edinburgh, and I have a number of updates to share with you.
Firstly, as many of you will have read, Edinburgh City Council has agreed its latest budget. I am delighted that councillors have decided to maintain the level of additional police funding for the city.
The expenditure is a great investment in the safety and security of our communities, and I appreciate that, in a time of real financial pressure, protecting and sustaining that investment was a difficult job.
The money pays for more than 40 additional community police officers and they are deployed across the city’s neighbourhoods.
By maintaining this investment we can continue to focus on local priorities such as antisocial behaviour, drugs, road safety and housebreaking.
My staff will work closely with the council to develop a clear service level agreement that will monitor how we deliver on these priorities.
In other news, I am delighted to announce that we have recruited our first intake of Police Scotland Youth Volunteers. There are 24 recruits, aged from 14 to 16, and they will meet once a week under the guidance of adult helpers.
The volunteers will learn key life skills, including leadership, teamwork, responsibility and discipline and will work across the city at appropriate events to assist the public and provide a visible and reassuring presence.
This is not a precursor to recruitment – the purpose of the youth volunteers is to engage with young people from different backgrounds and provide them with meaningful and rewarding personal development and achievement. I think it’s a great concept and one that, if successful, we will look to expand and roll out further.
Finally, as we approach the end of our reporting year, I want to underline my commitment to fighting crime and making our roads safer.
Since April 1, 2013 we have cut violent crime by 14 per cent – that’s 123 fewer victims; we have cut robberies by 16 per cent – that’s 104 fewer victims; we have taken a third more knives off the streets – that’s 93 weapons; arrested more than 200 individuals engaged with serious and organised crime groups, and reduced those killed and seriously injured on the roads of the Capital by 27 per cent – that’s 45 fewer victims.
My officers and staff are committed to keeping you safe and, with a very busy year ahead of us, I look forward to updating you regularly. Remember, you can follow us on Twitter @ Edinburgh Police and on Facebook.