Operation Summer City is just one of our many initiatives – Capital Cops
Policing the South East area of the city brings its own set of challenges, says Chief Inspector David Robertson
Having been in post now for six months, I would like to reflect on some challenges we currently face and to update you on what we have planned to ensure South East Edinburgh remains a safe place for people to live, work and visit.
Stretching from the New Town to the City Bypass, the South East locality often accounts for in excess of 200 calls to police daily, which is a third of the demand for the city. These calls are responded to by our Response Teams based at Gayfield and Howdenhall Police Stations, along with our Community Policing Teams based at the West End, St Leonards and Howdenhall Police Stations.
Since January, residents of Liberton and Gilmerton have raised concerns about antisocial behaviour and associated criminality, which we are working hard to tackle.
Along with Inspector Towler, who leads the local Community Policing Team, I have met with elected representatives, community councils and attended a number of local events where we have listened to concerns. Along with partners, the Community Policing Team have attended Youth Talk events to engage with young people and understand their aspirations for these communities.
Traditional community policing in these areas is a top priority for me over the coming months, with a focus on engagement, visibility and enforcement in order to deter, disrupt and detect the small minority of individuals who are causing harm.
We have developed an action plan which we will be working hard to deliver along with the many partners invested in the area, and I would recommend you keep an eye out for our updates on our twitter account @EdinPolSE. You might even spot our newly appointed youth engagement officers in action at Goodtrees.
In the City Centre work is ongoing to deliver our annual response to the International Festival, Operation Summer City. As Local Area Commander, my responsibility is to ensure that as well as delivering safe and secure events, we continue to respond the issues that affect our communities daily across the area.
Many of these issues, although less high-profile, are just as important to me. Public safety is a priority for our Community Policing Team 365 days a year. On a daily basis, officers from the West End police station voluntarily start their shifts earlier than required, to undertake patrols to identify and support vulnerable people who all too often lay their heads on the Capitals streets.
Through well established relationships with our partners including third sector organisations, officers are often the first on hand to offer support and signpost individuals to other agencies. In addition to these daily intervention patrols we participate in a dedicated Community Improvement Partnership focused around begging and rough sleeping and we have dedicated officers who work with partners to offer individualised support to those identified as being the most vulnerable.
Over a number of years, our funded ward officers have forged excellent relationships with service providers in the City Centre of which I am extremely proud. It is through what is now routine joint working with Street Work, Salvation Army, Cyrenians, residents associations, the local authority, business community and our partners in education to name but a few that we collaborate to deliver solutions focused on harm reduction throughout the year. This work is typically delivered at an operational level between individuals who see this as genuine vocation and have my complete admiration.
The summer will bring with it challenges no doubt, but I am confident that we have the dedication and commitment in South East Edinburgh to rise to those challenges and continue to tackle the prevailing issues effecting our communities.
Ch Insp David Robertson, Local Area Commander for South East Edinburgh