Two months to go to Bonfire Night and police are already laying out their plans to prevent a repeat of the trouble which marred last year’s celebrations and brought fear to communities in the North and East of the city, particularly Loganlea.
Officers have been briefing councillors and community councils about their preparations, which include paying polite visits to those believed to have been involved in last year’s disruptions. They will also be going round shopkeepers to remind them that only those with special licences can sell fireworks and none can be sold to anyone under 18.
Community groups are also stepping up arrangements to ensure bonfires have adequate adult supervision to deter young troublemakers taking over, as happened last year.
But the council’s North-East Locality committee also heard this week that a centrally controlled squad of properly-equipped officers will also be on hand to deal with trouble immediately if it gets out of hand, the lack of which emerged as a key concern in Loganlea last year.
Then, officers did not have sufficient protective equipment to tackle violent offenders throwing rocks as well as lit fireworks and an officer was badly burnt. As a result, youths were able to run amok and cars were set on fire, with arrests only being made in the days after.
Details are still being finalised, but hopefully the combination of better stewarding and the knowledge that police are geared up for intervention will mean there will be no repeat of last year’s scenes.
A dog driver’s licence isn’t barking mad
There were plenty of happy pets and owners at the Seafield Cat and Dog Home open day on Sunday, perhaps taken down as a warning against future bad behaviour, but of course the animals homed there are not so much badly behaved but victims of their owners’ circumstances.
Like most rescue kennels, there is an overwhelming disproportion of Staffordshire terriers or crosses; they need a lot of attention and while not all are there because of irresponsible or incapable owners, some undoubtedly are.
Berlin has banned the breeding of Staffies and the city raised over £10m in 2016 with its ”hundefuhrerschein”; literally a “dog driver’s licence” which owners of all dogs, except toy breeds, must obtain.
Reintroducing licences here is a non-starter, but with dog fouling a constant menace maybe a dog driver’s licence isn’t such a bad idea.
Save Leith Walk planning glitch
Last week I wrote about the dilemma facing the planning committee when faced with the petition from the Save Leith Walk campaign, explaining that the council had not refused to accept the 12,000 signatures because it hadn’t been presented to the council as such.
I am now reliably informed the campaigners were told in advance the planning committee wouldn’t be able to accept the petition and were advised that making a deputation to full council the following day and presenting the petition to the Lord Provost would make the point. Readers can decide why they chose not to do so. I can’t comment.
I’m sure I won’t be alone in wondering about the irony of Edinburgh’s new bike hire scheme, designed to encourage a healthy lifestyle, being sponsored by a digital business which allows customers to order takeaway food deliveries in which the only effort required is the muscle power to tap the order into the phone and to answer the front door when the grub arrives.
Then again, Just Eat Cycles sounds like a guaranteed weight loser. Salt’n’sauce with your bike?