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  • lbpolice 11:22 am on September 21, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Malcolm Graham, , webchat   

    Edinburgh City Commander Malcolm Graham’s webchat with @EdinReporter 

    City Commander Malcolm GrahamAn unwelcome return of summer weather today! Heading to live blog with @EdinReporter now, please submit questions or areas to cover.


    My rank is Chief Superintendent, and I’m responsible for all policing across the City of Edinburgh. That includes leading about 1200 police officers, and 250 police staff involved in responding to emergency calls, safer neighbourhood teams across the City, the City Centre Police Unit and various specialist departments ranging from CID to Child protection.


    Your job sounds huge. Surely thats too much for one person? But only in the city centre yes?

    MG: Edinburgh’s a big City, and there are numerous different communities identified geographically or through another identity. The best way of effective policing is to set local priorities with communities and ensure that the police can respond to local needs and I don’t just cover the City Centre. I’m responsible for policing across the whole of the City, and work closely with the local authority and other partners in the public sector, businesses and the voluntary sector to make Edinburgh a safer and better place to live and work.


    Yes I have seen how the police can work together with the local neighbourhood people at the council. It seems all very joined up.

    You were previously head of the CID so is this very different now?

    I was Head of CID for over 4 years, and this included much pro-active policing to tackle organised crime and prevent offences against children and vulnerable people. Of course some investigative work comes once crimes have been committed, but the emphasis of policing in Edinburgh is on preventing crime, and improving community wellbeing. 


    So first of all can you answer Robert Pearson’s question about policing in Murhouse? He seems to think there are no police officers there and what do you know about the motorbikes.

    @EdinReporter: Can I ask @EdPoliceChief why we never see officers patrolling Muirhouse? This would assist with motorbike problem #askLBP

    MG: There are police officers in Muirhouse, and being visible and accessible to local people is really important both for preventing crime and understanding needs. Of course we can’t be everywhere at once, but officers regularly patrol where most crimes occur, on foot, sometimes on bikes and in cars. The motorbike problem is well recognised, and we’re trying to engage with mainly youngsters to turn their interest in motorbikes into a positive. I think Robert is aware of some of our efforts through ‘Total Craigroyston’ which aims to work with communities to improve exactly this type of problem.


    So that is something a bit like Operation Cipher up in the Calders which worked with young people, those suspected of drugs offences and also anti social behaviour.

    MG: It goes back to local solutions for local issues. Operation Cipher brings together a range of services with communities, to understand and act on shared solutions. Motorbikes are a problem in several areas of the City, but not a problem at all in many. We use Roads Policing Officers on special bikes to access certain areas, and support programmes like RUTS, teaching young people new skills relevant to their interests.


    Sorry you police officers and your acronyms. What is RUTS


    Rural and Urban Training Scheme – it’s a charity who train young people in mechanic skills, whilst assisting them with finding work experience and access to employment. Nothing beats crime like a payslip! And going back to visibility, I like to cycle to meetings in the City. It allows me to speak with people and hear their views. People like to see all police out and speaking with people, it’s the key to successful community policing. I don’t have a shiny car, in fact not surprisingly our fleet has reduced recently to save costs, and i’d like to see more cops out on bikes, covering bigger areas whilst still able to speak with people!


    And do you have police officers trained to teach schoolchildren about safe cycling?


    Safe cycling is trained by the police, but also by a number of other volunteers and groups. I’ve been at some of the training, and it’s really good, the kids learn basic road sense and have some fun too.


    Sara Dorman has asked how many fines you have issued for drivers who have crossed ASLs.


    Just like the cycle safe training for children, there needs to be a balance of education and enforcement to change attitudes towards road safety issues. I don’t have figures to hand, but we do issue tickets for this, although I think education and awareness is most effective at preventing road casualties. I really liked it when we assisted one primary school in getting children to challenge driver behaviour directly – that worked!


    And now a question about the perennial dog fouling problem… Sarah McDaid has a question for you. Although I am sure there are not 8000 dog owners in Leith.


    I’m not sure that I’ve seen 8000 dogs in Leith, but we do jointly enforce legislation around dog fouling with the Council. This is more of an issue in some areas than others, and people in Leith tell us there are many other priorities they’d like to see the police tackle, around drug use, anti-social behaviour and violence too.


    Now another question. Jim Slavin wants to know the religious and ethnic make up of the police force.


    We’ve made progress in encouraging a broad range of people to join the police, as we must reflect the communities we serve. The number of ethnic minority officers has increased steadily, although i don’t have information on religion. Interestingly, as communities change we have responded. We’ve recruited a number of Polish residents in Edinburgh recognising the large Polish community in Edinburgh, and this has been met very positively.


    One of the things you said you wanted to talk about is new ways of listening to the views of the public. Now you are a fairly new Twitter user. What else is there that you could do to improve communication?


    The police haven’t always felt it was their job to listen to people’s concerns, and understand how solutions can be built with communities. It’s at the top of my list now, to make sure people know that the police are only successful if they share the confidence of the people they serve. We’re catching up with new technologies and using different channels to communicate and listen to different people. That includes just going out into an area and asking people what they think we should be doing.


    So you would be happy for people to tweet some questions to you from time to time?


    People already do! I can’t always answer everybody on a current issue, but always try to let people know what I think, what the police in Edinburgh are doing, and am grateful that people take the time to get in touch about important issues.


    Ok so now for a moment back to cycling.

     @gillsart: @EdinReporter I cycle every day and would like the police to charge cyclists who cycle on the pavement?


    It can be really dangerous to cycle on the pavement, I agree. We do enforce the law on this in some areas, but thankfully there are now so many cyclists in Edinburgh that I strongly believe raising awareness and changing people’s understanding of road safety will improve things more (alongside some tickets being issued.)

    Jon Chase@chase_jon 

    That is what the council got the video transit vans to catch. They cost £100,000 each – the max fine is £60/poo.


    Can you answer Jon’s question about the CCTV vans?


    The CCTV vans are used by Services for Communities from the Council for a variety of purposes, and the police often get access to them for events and during operations. I’m not sure that they were just purchased to enforce dog fouling.



    Did you find that an easy policing exercise last Sunday? (Olympic Parade)


    Edinburgh is a fantastic City to police, as the Capital of Scotland we get loads of events, from Royal week to the tattoo, from marches and rallies to major concerts and sporting events. It takes a combined effort with partners to ensure public safety at things such as the Olympian Parade on Sunday, and many stewards are always involved in such events. It was a great day with big crowds on Sunday for Chris Hoy and others, and I lead the policing operation, but we only involved just over 30 police officers on the route, and for a relatively short time.

    @EdinReporter Driving onto and parking with two wheels on the pavement: an offence or just offensive? #askLbp


    The offence for parking and pavements relates to causing an obstruction, and of course being considerate to everybody else use of pavements and roads would be great. Parking wardens have a role in this, and it’s really offensive, as well as dangerous if such parking blocks, for instance, disabled access or emergency vehicle access. And of course there is a bill about parking in Holyrood now.


    Now for some grittier questions. Rob Munn former Deputy Lord Provost has rightly raised the question of armed police in view of what has happened in Manchester this week.


    Events in Manchester have been shocking, for everybody and particularly families and colleagues. The death of a colleague does provide a stark reminder across the policing family of the risks that officers take every day to keep others safe. Preventing gun crime is always a priority in Edinburgh, and it’s one of the safest Cities in the UK, and internationally as a result. I believe that we have an excellent support from specialist firearms officers, who are on 24/7 to respond, but more routine arming of the police is not the answer, even in the wake of such tragic events. We must relentlessly invest time and effort in local policing, with communities, who thankfully in Edinburgh will not tolerate the very small number of criminals intent on getting guns. There is some evidence from across the world that arming police can increase the criminal use of firearms, and that would be a step in the wrong direction. Officer safety is really important, and we constantly monitor these issues.


    Rob Munn also asked about proactive or reactive policing but I think you may have answered that by talking about the various operations that Lothian and Borders Police are party to.  How will all this be affected by the introduction of the new national police force… For starters how will it affect you personally?


    The move in April next year to the Police Service of Scotland is a massive change for the police, but thankfully the purpose of the new service is now enshrined in legislation as being about preventing crime, making communities safer and improving community wellbeing. That’s what we’re all about in Edinburgh, and whilst we need to respond to crimes and criminals to protect people, we know that investing efforts in preventing crime and criminals from developing at the earliest age is the best way of really improving the lives of people across the City.

    For me personally, I aim to make local policing in Edinburgh better than it currently is whilst making best use of a national service and all the specialist resource. Local response officers and safer neighbourhood teams will continue to work locally to neighbourhood priorities.


    And is it true that the HQ for the national police force will not be in Edinburgh?


    THe Scottish Government have decided that interim HQ will be at the Scottish Police College in Fife, and it will be for the new Scottish Police Authority and Chief Constable to make longer-term arrangements. No matter where the HQ is, it’s local policing that makes the difference!

    @closey03: @LBP_Police, When does recruitment open for new police constables?

    MG @closey03 we’re recruiting Special Constable’s now, on the @LBP_Police website.


    There will be a need to recruit officers to maintain the number we currently have through this year, and we’re actively recruiting Special Constables, who play an increasingly important role in working alongside regular cops, in their communities. I’m also exploring ways of using volunteers to do things that we can’t currently do, that people tell us are really important, such as making sure we’re meeting people’s needs if they report a crime or incident.


    Now we are drawing to a close and just wonder if there is anything that our readers can do to help the police in Edinburgh?


    I really welcome people getting involved in telling me and other officers what they think about the police, the service we provide and how we can improve. Different views are always really useful, and it’s clear that people really care! We always need people to come forward and tell us what is happening, to report crime, and to support local policing.


    So thank you to you Malcolm for your time this evening. We have enjoyed meeting you!

    You have to get back on your bike now – hope you’ve got lights


    I hope the rain’s gone off. We’re not ‘fair weather’ cyclists, but Edinburgh always looks at her best in the sun! I’ve got lights, a lock, a bell and my radio.

  • lbpolice 2:28 pm on June 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: edinburgh reporter, , , , webchat, west and pentlands   

    #AskLBP Chief Inspector Murray Dykes answers your questions 

    Ch Insp Murray Dykes in a webchatEdinReporter: 

    Ok so to start things off – how about a little news about you? I understand you were in charge of the Olympic Torch relay last week – must have been fun?
    Chief Inspector Murray Dykes: 
    Yes it was a once in a life time event, which really captured the public’s imagination and of course the weather greatly assisted!
    So a little bit about you – you are Chief Inspector of the West Neighbourhood Area? How did you get into the police in the first place?
    Chief Inspector Murray Dykes:
    I was a pharmaceutical microbiologist at Nine Wells Hospital in Dundee, although I enjoyed the job, the nine to five routine did not suit. My father was a police officer and he always said it was a job that you never did the same thing two days running, which appealed. Between 1996 and 1999 I was one of the motorcycle sergeants based at police HQ. A really exciting job as the bikes were usually involved in the majority of major events occurring in the city.
    So now your day to day job involves looking after the whole of the West Neighbourhood – where does that extend to…?
    Chief Inspector Murray Dykes:
    The west Edinburgh area runs for Murrayfield through Corstorphine and out as far as Kirkliston and includes South Queensferry.

    As the Chief Inspector for the west neighbourhood area (NA) I am based at Corstorphine Police Station. The west NA covers the council wards of Almond, Drumebrae/Gyle and Corstorphine/Murrayfield.

    Two sector inspectors are responsible for community policing, Inspector John Cooper is based at South Queensferry Police Station, John Cooper covers the Almond ward with his Safer Neighbourhood Officers (SNT).

    And Inspector Andy Gilhooley, based at Corstorphine Police Station, has two teams of SNT officers; one situated at the new Drumbrae Hub covering the Drumbrae/Gyle ward and another team based at Corstorphine, which looks after Corstorphine/Murrayfield

    One of the areas that you personally look after is Murrayfield and of course when there are concerts there it must involve a lot of police work… How do you plan for this..?

    Ch Insp Murray Dykes
    Murrayfield stadium has a capacity of 67,500. Usually the stadium is full of ardent rugby supporters who know where to park and the lay out of the stadium so in essence the policing operation is basically to get a large crowd in and out of the stadium safely.

    For a concert, although the capacity is reduced to around 50,000, the challenge is getting a crowd who are unfamiliar with the stadium into and out of the ground. So in essence we need to interact with the crowd and the event organisers to a greater extent.

    And we have a question about traffic around the Corstorphine area…. coming next from Lothian MSP Sarah Boyack.

    I note that Lothian’s and Borders police ran a speeding campaign in response to reports that some CityLink buses and airport shuttle buses were speeding, most notably between Roseburn and the Zoo.

    Can Chief Inspector Murray Dykes please provide an update on the campaign and what speed checks were in place and whether the campaign was viewed as a success?

    Ch Insp Murray Dykes
    This issue was raised as a concern by the community at the latest priority setting group. The local Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) have undertaken to monitor the speed of vehicles on the Corstorphine road corridor and in conjunction with their Road Policing colleagues will endeavour to educate and, where necessary, enforce local speed limits. The SNT officers will report back to the group within three months.


    Barry Koervers:  
    With the increased media attention as a result of the Panda’s at Edinburgh Zoo, has it made a difference in how you would police the local area, especially on the build up to the arrival of the animals?
     Ch Insp Murray Dykes
     As you would expect there was a great deal of excitement around the arrival of the Pandas and that was just amongst the police officers involved!! As you would expect a great deal of prior planning went into their arrival at Edinburgh Airport and subsequent journey to the zoo. On an ongoing basis we have an SNT officer who is a liaison officer for the zoo and who can provide assistance to them in terms of local traffic management and increased crowd numbers.
    Colin Keir MSP
    I welcome the opportunity to read the views of Ch Insp Dykes in relation to Policing within the Western Neighbourhood Partnership area.As I am a former Councillor for the Drum Brae/Gyle ward who had a part in the decision making process which commissioned the new Drum Brae Library and Hub and still has an interest as the local MSP, perhaps Ch Insp Dykes can inform those involve here today;What effect the new facility is having on the NP area?
    Ch Insp Murray Dykes
    I know the Drumbrae library Hub project is a topic close to Mr Keir’s heart. The facility allows council service community staff and police officers to work side by side in the heart of the community. It is a bright modern facility, which is a real asset to those living and working in the area.
    Natalie Hoy from City of Edinburgh Council West Team.Natalie is the West Neighbourhood Manager employed by the council and she works alongside the Police and other partners in relation to a range of different council services like housing roads and community safety.
    Electric vehicle charging pointEdinReporter: 
    Here is something we found at the Drumbrae Hub the other day…. what on earth is this..?
    Natalie Hoy
    That is our electric charging point for vehicles at the south of our building!
    Here is another question from Sarah Boyack MSP about housebreaking. Housebreakings continue to be a concern and priority in the local area. Can Chief Inspector Murray Dykes please advise what necessary steps residents should be taking to prevent house break ins?
    Ch Insp Murray Dykes
    The thought of having your house broken into and your possessions taken is probably the one which troubles the public the most. In addition to uniformed officers, in each of the neighbourhood areas there is a team of plain clothes officers who deal specifically with this crime and those responsible for it they build up a detailed knowledge of those criminals who are acitve in their area and the methods they use in carrying out their crimes. Sadly the large number of house breakings are carried out by a disproportionately small number of individuals. The key in all of this is to make your house and property as secure and as uninviting to the potential thief as possible. Contact your local crime prevention officers to provide guidance on measures to protect your home and property, on 0131-311-3131.
    There is also an information page on the Lothian and Borders Police website.. with good tips on how to avoid housebreaking.  http://www.lbp.police.uk/crime_prevention/home_security.aspx
    So both you and Natalie work together in the West Area. Where do your jobs cross over in particular?
    Ch Insp Murray Dykes
    One of the main areas is responding to the community’s concerns regarding anti social behaviour. We do this by working closely together.
    Colin Keir has a question about antisocial behaviour…. Can Ch Insp Dykes explain the strategy used to ensure public safety and combat anti-social behaviour in our parks and greenspaces?
    Ch Insp Murray Dykes
    Working on community information, we jointly patrol with SNT officers and council environmental wardens where the community may have concerns. We work closely with ‘Friends of Parks’ groups on improving amenities and reducing anti-social behaviour. Since 2007 we have been working hard to reduce the damage caused by bonfires in the area around Guy Fawkes. This has involved the community parks officers, police, task force and environmental wardens.
    SNT stands for Safer Neighbourhood Teams
    Kim Harding who is a well known city cyclist -What plans do LBP have to enforce the new 20mph speed limits?
    Ch Insp Murray Dykes
     Enforcement generally lies with my Road policing colleagues, however, Safer Neighbourhood Team officers do take an active part in speaking to schools in relation to indiscriminate parking and general traffic around schools.

    One of the big drives by Lothian and Borders is to give the community a say in what their local priorities are for the police and the council. How do residents get involved in this?
     Ch Insp Murray Dykes
    Local priority setting groups sit under the Neighbourhood Partnership structure and are meetings involving local council staff, SNT officers and representatives from the community, including Community Councils.

    This is an opportunity to let both police and council know what issues are afffecting you in your area. Contact the West Team for further details or see My neighbourhood section of LBP website. There should also be posters advertising up and coming meetings in your local area.

    Alternatively why not drop in to the Hub?

    And finally…by email  from Andrew – “Edinburgh seems to be home to quite a lot of crime novels (Irvine Welsh, Ian Rankin, Alan Guthrie, Christopher Brookmyre, Quintin Jardine, Alanna Knight and more have set books here) – is that a reflection of crime rates in the city?”

    Chief Inspector Murray Dykes: 
    Edinburgh is an extremely safe city in which to live, work and visit. It is steeped in a rich history which has provided a wealth of material for authors over the generations. Why not drop into your local library to find more. The new Drumbrae library Hub has 22,000 new books for you to enjoy. Personally I am a Morse fan! 
  • lbpolice 3:21 pm on June 7, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , webchat   

    #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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