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Christmas Presence Made an Impact

posted 17 Jan 2009, 02:14 by myEdinburgh Admin   [ updated 17 Jan 2009, 02:15 ]

The Edinburgh Community Safety Partnership, The City of Edinburgh Council, Lothian and Borders Police and British Transport Police are celebrating the success of joining forces throughout December.

The crime rate dropped by 16% in the city centre during December 2008 when compared with averages for the same period over the last 3 years. Youth calls halved compared to the same period last year. These successes can be attributed to the extra initiatives put in place to ensure that residents and visitors could enjoy the night-time festivities in the city centre as safely as possible.

A package of partnership measures was in operation in the city throughout the festive season from 28 November. It encompassed a range of initiatives to: combat alcohol-related violence and disorder; help people get home safely after a night out and bolster public reassurance through a highly visible presence.

There were 20 alcohol-related youth calls. Approximately 82 litres of alcohol were seized from under-18's. The majority of alcohol was seized at the beginning of the operation and the number of alcohol seizures decreased towards the end of December. This is a result of the a heightened awareness of the extra Police and Council presence.

The number of minor assaults is down and the number of serious assaults occurring during the Festive Period has dropped by nearly half compared to the previous festive year.

Weapons searches were carried out on all six weekends and four individuals were charged after being found to be in possession of a weapon. High visibility and plain-clothed patrols at the Winter Wonderland attraction and in the city centre were supplemented by Community Safety staff and extended CCTV coverage from the mobile unit. Footage was used to direct police officers on the ground to incidents. Following an arrest this footage would possibly be used in the resulting court case.

Joint patrols took place between Police Officers and Environmental Wardens. This is the first year joint patrols at night were possible thanks to the introduction of night-time working for the Environmental Wardens. In addition to their core Environmental Warden duties the officers assisted the operation by patrolling remote/isolated areas and assisting with city centre dispersal. The presence of Environmental Wardens also acted as a deterrent and helped reduce the level of crime in the city.

Bus passengers and drivers also hailed the success of transport initiatives in which Lothian and Borders Police and LRT Route Managers undertook gateway checks on buses entering the city centre at main arterial routes to monitor youth disorder and identify youths carrying alcohol.

British Transport Police (BTP) conducted over 400 safe journey inspections and confiscated only 6 litres of alcohol from underage drinkers as part of the joint initiative throughout December.

Licensing Standards Officers' and Police Officers from the Edinburgh Licensing Standards Initiative made 777 visits to clubs and off sales premises which were well received by traders and licensees. They were very pleased with the majority of licensed premises as they were working effectively with police in reporting incidents of young people trying to purchase alcohol.

The presence of Transport Marshals to patrol six key taxi ranks, alongside L&B Police, in the city centre was welcomed by many members of the public. This initiative was introduced two years ago on a smaller scale but has proved so popular it has been extended and has been hailed by taxi drivers and the public alike as very helpful.

Overall, it was judged that the excellent partnership working had resulted in a noticeable and positive difference in the conduct of people within the city centre.

Councillor Paul Edie, Community Safety Leader said: "It is our priority to make sure people feel safe in our city. Work like this ensures that they are and puts a clear message out to anyone intent on causing trouble that if you come into the city expecting to do so we will be there to stop you. I'd like to thank all the staff who worked over the festive period to ensure everyone was able to enjoy the city's festivities."

Chief Inspector Kevin Murray of Lothian and Borders Police said, "The huge increase in visitors to the city centre over the festive period has a major impact on the service demand made of all the agencies. Through this initiative we have pulled together our resources to ensure that local people and visitors to our capital were able to enjoy the Festive Experience in a safe and welcoming environment.

"The commitment of Lothian and Borders Police to the joint operation was the deployment of over 200 additional police officers, patrolling the city centre at key times and in the busiest areas to prevent violence, disorder and crime. These officers were responsible for providing a highly visible and effective presence on our streets in support of the work carried out by the Central Policing Team.

Inspector Andy Cunningham of the British Transport Police said,

"The joint approach with the other partners involved worked extremely well and it will be something we will certainly repeat in the future. Our officers and their colleagues from Lothian and Borders Police spoke with a large number of the travelling public and the initiative was well received by both the public and rail staff."

Source: The City of Edinburgh Council