Residents in Edinburgh were rightly shocked by the recent knife attack in Gilmerton and ensuing youth riot in Moredun.
I have been in close contact with the police since the incidents and was pleased that following the riot the police put an extra 10 officers and a CCTV van on the street in Gilmerton and Moredun for the duration of the Easter holidays. However, residents deserve more than this sticking plaster approach. There are serious concerns about both police presence and the continuity of officers who work in the area.
I wrote to Chief Superintendent Gareth Blair to seek a meeting with him to discuss the policing strategy in the area. You can read my letter below.
I have also contacted local residents and started a survey on anti-social behaviour to get a better idea of what the problems are. If you live locally please take the survey here.
Following my letter to the Police I am pleased to report I met with Chief Inspector David Robertson and Community Inspector Norman Towler.
I impressed upon the police the real fear many in the community have about violent youth anti-social behaviour. Feedback from the above survey shows that some people are scared to leave the house and send their children to school. I do emphasise that these crimes are very rare and that residents should report any concerns they have to the police.
I was given commitments by the police that the intend to formulate a new strategy for the area, involving all local stakeholders including: local centres, libraries, churches and community councils. This will be led by the police and I was informed that they will have additional resources and more officer overtime to help. This will enable more community and plain clothed officers to be deployed throughout the area on high visibility patrols and vital community engagement work. However, whilst I am confident this will make a difference and the new action plan will help, the funding for the extra officers will only be temporary so we must keep the pressure on for our local police to be resourced properly on a permanent basis.
I will continue to meet with the police to monitor progress on this new strategy and will continue to keep the community updated.