Police in Edinburgh have praised the ongoing partnership approach to tackling motorcycle crime, following a significant reduction in both thefts and anti-social incidents across Edinburgh and the Lothians.
Operation Soteria is Edinburgh Division’s response to significant community concerns linked to the theft and antisocial use of motorcycles across the city, set up in 2016.
The approach from officers has continued to evolve, with 2018 seeing a range of new tactics being successfully deployed across Edinburgh.
A multi-agency Community Improvement Partnership, set up by City of Edinburgh Council, saw the introduction of DNA tagging spray, deployment of off-road motorcycles as well as revised tactics by officers in Roads Policing to tackle antisocial use of motorcycles.
As a result, since the 1st April, to 1st September 2018, motorcycle theft has reduced by 60%, which equates to 278 fewer offences across Edinburgh.
The Capital has also seen a 54% reduction in motorcycle anti-social behaviour calls with 346 less incidents being reported.
Chief Superintendent Gareth Blair, Divisional Commander for Edinburgh, said: “I am delighted with the results we are seeing, as a result of Operation Soteria.
“Motorcycle crime has undoubtedly had a significant impact across the city, not only in terms of antisocial behaviour and fear of crime, but also on the owners of the bikes stolen.
“By working in partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council we have created a range of preventative activity and robust enforcement to tackle this challenging issue.
“Our off-road Operation Orbit bikes which were funded by the Council, have become an integral part of the daily policing of Edinburgh, improving our ability to prevent and respond to incidents including thefts of bikes. They have improved our visibility in key areas associated with this issue as well as engagement with young people.
“However, we will not become complacent in our efforts to tackle motorcycle crime further and will continue to use all resources at our disposal to maintain our outstanding work with partners to reduce such incidents across the city.”
Councillor Amy McNeese-Mechan, chair of Edinburgh’s Community Safety Partnership said: “Antisocial behaviour can have a devastating effect on communities.
“We are committed to making communities safer and do so by working closely with Police Scotland on initiatives such as Operation Soteria to reduce bike thefts and the dangerous use of motorcyles in the city.
“It’s really encouraging to see the reductions in incidents and crime resulting from the work we have carried out with the police and other agencies.”
MSP for Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Ben Macpherson, said: “This reduction in motorcycle crime is a result of the way the local community, Police Scotland, local representatives, youth groups, myself as the local MSP, and other partners have all worked together to help tackle this issue.
“From what I’ve seen, over recent months there has been a noticeable change in the local community. More and more, the people of North Edinburgh have reported incidents and refused to let a minority blight or tarnish their community.
“I would encourage people to keep reporting incidents to the police, if and when, they do occur. None of us can be complacent but we can all take heart from the significant positive difference that’s been made.”