National police a world class asset

Chief Superintendent Richard Thomas is Divisional Commander for Edinburgh. Picture: Jon Savage
Chief Superintendent Richard Thomas is Divisional Commander for Edinburgh. Picture: Jon Savage
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This month, I would like to acknowledge the work of specialist resources operating in Edinburgh, which play a significant but largely uncelebrated role in helping to keep people safe.

Local policing in Edinburgh is about delivering a high quality, responsive service to the people and communities who visit, live and work in our city.

But in a national police service, considerations of the broader policing landscape are never far away, and this has been evident this month as we saw changes to the deployment of firearms officers to enable them to respond to a wider range of duties than was previously the case. Armed police officers have already proved their value across Scotland, responding to a diverse array of calls - tracing missing children, arresting drink drivers, responding to cases of domestic abuse, and many more such incidents across the country – over and above their specialist role of providing armed support to operations involving firearms, or as a contingency in protecting the public from the threat of international terrorism.

Our national police service brings an array of benefits and additional resource to local policing; many of you will by now be familiar with the sight of the Police Scotland helicopter providing air support to officers on the ground.

Deployment of national assets in support of major incidents and large scale events frees up local officers to concentrate on city priorities, such as acquisitive and violent crime. Housebreaking, pedal cycle theft and motorbike crime have seen marked reductions over the last year, thanks to focused operations resourced mainly from our community policing and proactive teams.

The other specialist officers that I would highlight are the men and women of the Road Policing Unit, who have been working closely with local detectives to investigate the recent road collision at the Maybury Roundabout in which a man was tragically killed. Our deepest sympathies are with the family at this time as we investigate and seek to bring those responsible to justice.

The accessibility and expertise of national police resources provides an extra dimension and a further level of professionalism to local policing that we did not enjoy before the creation of Police Scotland, and this should provide reassurance to the people of Edinburgh that Police Scotland can and does deliver a world class service fit for the 21st century.

Chief Superintendent Richard Thomas is Divisional Commander for Edinburgh.