Chief Inspector Mark Rennie with an update on crime and Policing matters in the south east Edinburgh:
It has been a challenging six weeks across the Area Command, however, the initial results look extremely positive in terms of general crime and officer activity.
On a very sombre note, the most challenging incident over the period involved a fatal road collision in Kingston Avenue (off Old Dalkeith Road) on the 12th May.
This resulted in the death of a Royal Infirmary nurse, Jill Pirrie and received considerable attention in the media. Officers and detectives worked tirelessly following the collision to identify and then trace those within the vehicle which resulted in an 18 yr old local boy being charged with causing death by dangerous driving. Ms Pirrie's family were supported throughout by officers and local supervisors also worked with hospital staff to lessen the impact of the resulting road closure and supervise the vehicle occupants who were also later treated within the hospital.
As reported in the media the incident has also been referred to the PIRC given there had been a short police pursuit prior to the collision.
Crime and specifically housebreaking, continues to be key area of focus for us. We are now seeing some very positive results as a consequence of the hard work and resource we have committed to the problem and some key offenders have also recently received some significant sentences as result of the cases collated. I have no doubt that taking these offenders off the street for longer periods of time has contributed to the reduction in this invasive crime. Since Apr 1st we have seen a 35% reduction in domestic housebreaking in South East which equates to 50 less housebreakings for the area.
Generally, most other crime types have also seen a reduction since Apr 1st and victim based crime, which affects people most, has been reduced by 13% or 219 less victims. Within that grouping, the visible crime of vandalism has specifically seen a significant 25% reduction equating to 77 fewer crimes.
One area for improvement though relates to an increase in motor vehicle theft. This has seen an increase from 33 to 53 or 60% and is an area we are analysing at the moment. The increase at the appears linked to an increase in theft of motorcycles and we will be targeting this particular problem over the coming weeks to identify some key offenders who we believe are responsible for the bulk of the increase.
We have also responded directly to concerns around antisocial behaviour in and around Hunter Square and the main Southside corridor in recent weeks. As well as local ward officer patrols, we have secured the assistance of the force flexible policing teams and those additional officers have been patrolling these areas and targeting key offenders involved in drug misuse and antisocial behaviour.
Importantly, when arrests have been made we have been utilising bail conditions to prevent offenders from returning to the area and Michelle Miller, CEC, has convened a multiagency group to look at longer term solutions to the problems experienced. Having policed the City for 22 years and seen similar problems elsewhere, I am convinced that the solution will lie with environmental improvements to the area to design out a lot of the features which attract undesirables to that particular location.
Our air weapon surrender campaign is also in full swing just now and we have received a good response from local residents. With a week to go, we have received 500 weapons which is a very positive return for the Division and should make a difference from the end of the year when the new licensing legislation comes into force.
As mentioned in my last update we continue to use our local twitter account (@EdinPolSE) to provide community updates and engage with local people. I recently carried out a straw poll of followers around our City Centre policing detail to ask people where they thought officers should focus activity during the night.
Interestingly 47% of the 400 respondents said the Cowgate, 30% said Lothian Rd, 14% said George Street and 9% said the Greenside area. Although our nightshift detail has been planned with years of experience and in response to call and crime data around violence/ASB, it was really interesting to gauge perception of how people feel at night in this way and I intend to discuss these results at local CIP and locality meetings going forward.
Finally, on a light note to finish .........in case you missed it some of our officers participated in the 'running man' challenge on the Castle esplanade during a break in their duties. The footage that followed was viewed by over 7 million people around the world and received numerous positive comments from the local community.
Not only did it feature the glorious backdrop of the castle but also reaffirmed that our officers do have a human side too.... which is important given media reports often only cover some the challenges of modern policing.
Internet aside, officers have attended a variety of community events recently, including the Meadows festival at the weekend and police open day at the Central mosque. The policing response to the community work at these events was very positive and a reminder of the other work our ward officers participate in. (PC Ponniah should be specifically commended as he was brave enough to go into the stocks at the Meadows on Saturday to let local kids throw water filled sponges at him to great hilarity!!!
As always there has been lots going on and this provides just a snapshot.
Should you have any queries or local policing concerns, please don't hesitate to raise them with me or to your local community Inspectors who will assist.
Chief Inspector Mark Rennie
Local Area Commander - South East Edinburgh
Howdenhall Police Station
9 Howdenhall Road