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  • lbpolice 3:43 pm on July 31, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: AskLBP, chief inspector, , , pentland, pentlands, richard thomas   

    #AskLBP today with Pentland Chief Inspector Richard Thomas and @Edinburghreporter 

    LBP Chief Inspector Richard ThomasEdinReporter: 
    Well we now have Chief Inspector Richard Thomas here with Inspector Irene Ralston and we are ready to start. First of all Richard perhaps you would give us some idea of how you got where you are today?
    Richard Thomas:
     I joined the Force in 1996 and as a Police Constable in the West End of Edinburgh in a variety of roles including CID and Community Facing role such as my present one, 1989 – Graduated from Leeds University – B.A. Hons degree (1st Class) in English. 1990 – 1993 First Line Manager, Clays Ltd (book printers), Bungay, Suffolk 1993 – 1996 General Manager, Hullaballoo Theatre Company, Edinburgh 2010 – present: Voluntary Board Member of The Melting Pot, working with start up organisations involved in social innovation in Edinburgh.

    1996 – 2002 Police Constable in Edinburgh West End ‘C’ Division, L&B Police. 2002 – Promoted to Sergeant on Accelerated Promotion Scheme, uniform duties. Also formed part of working party defining the role of police within the new partnership working arrangements. 2003 – Transferred to CID, working within Crime Strategy Branch and Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in the Drylaw area of Edinburgh. 2004 – Transferred to Scottish Crime & Drug Enforcement Agency, Strategic Development Unit. Devised new performance management framework as part of the Strategic Direction project. (Began MBA studies through the O.U.)

    Do you think it is essential to have a university degree to be at Inspector level?
    Richard Thomas: 
    Not at all. It is something that requires good people skills and the desire to make a difference.
    What is the area you are responsible for? How many police officers do you command?
    Richard Thomas: 
    I am responsible for the Pentlands Neighbourhood Area (SW neighbourhood area) and I command 150 officers.
    How are those officers structured?
    Richard Thomas: 
    Under my command I have 2 Sector Inspectors covering wards 2,7,8 and 9 which are Pentland Hills, Sighthill/Gorgie, Oxgangs/Balerno and Craiglockhart/Fountainbridge.
    Describe a typical day for us. Do you actually manage to get out of the office?
    Richard Thomas: 
    It is a varied job which encompasses personnel, management setting strategic goals and responding to emergency calls, policing large events such as football matches and responding to firearms incidents force wide and possibly the most important work that I do is community facing responding to the needs of the local neighbourhood area to solve local problems such as anti-social behaviour and crime.
    Edinburgh Reporter:
    Tell us about the different areas in your patch. Are there distinct differences in the kinds of crime you have to deal with in each?
    Richard Thomas: 
    The Pentlands neighbourhood area encompasses densely populated areas such as Gorgie/Dalry out to semi rural locations such as Balerno. The southwest area is the largest geographic area and by population in the city of Edinburgh.
    Given that Wester Hailes police station is where you are situated perhaps you would tell us about that area and the kinds of crime you have to deal with there.
    Richard Thomas: 
    In the Wester Hailes there is a variety of issues including drugs, anti-social behaviour and vandalism. However, these are not issues solely particular to Wester Hailes, as with every other area they must be addressed, the majority of people are hard working and want to work with us to solve these problems.
    As well as the people who live there you must work with many other groups in the area. Tell us about them.
     While we are having a couple of minor technical issues here….the police work with the Council and the environmental wardens who work there. They also partner a number of third sector charities including Score Scotland who work with black and minority ethnic groups in the south west. You can contact the South West team at the council here:
    South West Neighbourhood Team 10 Westside Plaza, Edinburgh EH14 2ST Tel: 0131 527 3800 Email: southwestteam@ edinburgh.gov.uk

    Richard Thomas:-
    “We have excellent relationships with our partner agencies. Working together allows for more intelligent problem solving than any one agency alone can deliver. We have a variety of processes in place for sharing information about vulnerable people such as children with a variety of agencies who can best help them.”

    I believe that you have some ideas for better policing in the Pentlands area particularly the Calders?
    Richard Thomas:-
    “We are about to embark upon a long term partnership initiative focussing on different areas within the ward 7 area which is Sighthill/Gorgie. It starts in the Calders area on 21 August…and will run for four weeks. This means we will have what we are calling Days of Action”
    What does Days of Action mean?
    Richard Thomas:
    “What it means is that we will be in the area talking to members of the community finding out what their issues are. We wil be physically tidying the area up along with the environmental wardens. We will be expecting to deal with some anti social behaviour issues. We hope that the community will allow us to help improve the area in many ways.”
    “The intention is to hold small focus groups with Calders residents to find out the issues that affect them and how we can jointly deal with them. We are going to listen to what people tell us and we do not have any preconceptions about what the problems might be.”
    ” By the end of September we hope to have reached a substantial proportion of the community through work like diversionary activities…. This means some activities that children can join in based on the theme of the Olympics.”
    “We are organising football in conjunction with the SFA. There will be a five a side tournament following open sessions, if of course there is sufficient interest. There will be kayaking on the canal.”
    Do you mean that police officers are kayaking or showing children what to do?
    Richard Thomas:-
    “No. There are a couple of qualified instructors who will be doing the teaching. The point is to give the young people in the area an opportunity to engage in positive activities and things they might not otherwise get the chance to do. It is also intended to reduce youth offending.”
    “We also want to show people that they can organise events themselves, and take responsibility for improving their own communities or their own area.”
    So this is a big initiative in the Pentlands area then? It must have taken some time to organise?
    Richard Thomas:-
    Yes it has but we want to make a positive difference to the area. Part of improving a community is traditional policing and equally to work alongside other partners in the neighbourhood to make it a safer and better place to live. We need help from the community itself to make this work.”
    Hi I was wondering since you sound like such a busy man, do you have time to meet with small voluntary organisations operating in the Wester Hailes areas?
    Richard Thomas:-
    ” Absolutely of course we do. That is a really important part of what we are trying to achieve in terms of building trust and engaging with the community. email me at richard.thomas@lbp.pnn.police.uk
    When you amalgamated Edinburgh’s 3 divisions into one*, response times dropped dramatically with officers from Portobello responding to calls in our area and vice versa and when you closed the local control rooms and merged them into the FCC, call answering was shocking (one 999 call I made personally took 5 minutes 23 seconds to ANSWER) and the pitiful excuse given by LBP was that they “didn’t realise how many call they received on a daily basis” Given that most people require an urgent response from the Police at times of utmost crisis, how will these issues be avoided when the new Single Scottish Police Force comes into being next year?
    Richard Thomas:-
    “That is a major piece of work being carried out nationally. My own intention at a local level as an area commander is to continue to deliver excellent local policing at this time of change, and of course continue when the new force is set up.”
    *LBP This Divisional merger was several years ago, for 999 response time stats published this week click here
    We should explain before setting RIchard the next question that he is a keen cyclist, using his bike for commuting as well as leisure. @camurphy asked on Twitter “Any plans to police the red cycle boxes for both cars offering and cyclists not using by jumping the red lights?”
    Richard Thomas:-
    “I think that both car drivers and cyclists have an equal obligation to obey the rules of the road and to respect each other. I am a cyclist and a driver and I think most people would agree that respect is the best road safety there is. As for plans to enforce we have ongoing road safety initiatives particularly where there are accident blackspots. We also have police officers who patrol using bicycles. Part of their duty is to ensure that all road users abide by the Highway Code.”
    Some of our other contributors asked about the 20mph zones. Do you have any in your area? If you do then how do you police them?
    Richard Thomas:-
    ” No we don’t but elsewhere in the city they are policed by traffic wardens. For most of the areas where they exist there is usually a good reason, mostly they are outside schools and built up areas for example. If anyone is spotted in these areas flouting the rules they can expect to be challenged.”
    Richard thank you very much for joining us today. We appreciate your time. We look forward to hearing more about your community policing in time. How can our readers keep up with your news?
    Richard Thomas:-
    “There is a blog at the bottom of the Lothian and Borders Police website where news will be posted.”
  • lbpolice 3:21 pm on June 7, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , pentlands, ,   

    #AskLBP Chief Inspector Murray Dykes – Edinburgh West and Pentlands 

    Lothian and Borders Police and the Edinburgh Reporter invite you get involved in our first #AskLBP  web discussion.

    Chief Inspector Murray Dykes

    Chief Inspector Murray Dykes of West and Pentlands will be taking part in an online chat on the Edinburgh Reporter website, on Tuesday 19th June.

    The webchat, which takes place from 12:30-1:30pm, aims to answer any community policing questions you tweet or email in, either beforehand or on the day.  Edinburgh Council Business Manager Natalie Hoy will also be available.

    If you want to know what the police are doing in West and Pentlands, or are looking for advice on any police-related issue, tweet us your questions to @LBP_Police or @EdinReporter using hashtag #AskLBP

    Alternatively, send your questions through the Edinburgh Reporter website (http://www.theedinburghreporter.co.uk/contact/)

    Or you can use the reply function below

    This forum cannot be used to report crime: please telephone Lothian and Borders Police on 0131 311 3131, or call 999 in an emergency.

    For legal reasons, live criminal cases cannot be discussed.

    • Sighthill, Broomhouse & Parkhead Community Council 10:38 am on June 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Matters which the FCC/Police class as low priority are often those which residents see as impacting on their daily lives. For example most people haven’t been affected by rape or murder but have been affected by petty crime, dog fouling, anti-social behaviour, etc. Two questions. Firstly how do you square the circle between Force priorities and community priorities and secondly how do you educate the public as to which issues are Police responsibilties and which are other agencies or should it just be the case that any matter reported to any agency should be resolved(or attempted to be resolved), whether it’s that agency’s ACTUAL responsibility or not?

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