Angry Pilton residents demand action over crime and antisocial behaviour
Local residents packed into West Pilton Neighbourhood Centre last night to demand that firm action is taken to tackle a wave of crime and vandalism that is blighting the area. Police, politicians and council officials say they will continue to work in partnership with the community to resolve the problems – but add that the justice system must also do more to help communities.
Last night’s event was scheduled to be an ordinary monthly West Pilton West Granton community council meeting, but recent local events meant that the regular business agenda was ditched as dozens of angry residents packed the meeting. The attempted murder of local business owner Jie Yu in West Pilton last week brought matters to a head and has galvanised local people to say – enough is enough: we won’t accept this any more. The community is sick of what they see as a lack of activity in tackling crime in their area, and listening to comments last night Pilton sounds like an area under siege. Speaker after speaker talked about slow or non-existent response to calls to the police, the scourge of motorbikes, a lack of punishment if wrongdoers are caught and primary school-aged children wandering the streets after midnight. They talked of gangs of youths – many of whom live outside North Edinburgh – roaming the streets at all hours, leaving local children too afraid to go out to play. Older people afraid to leave their homes, vandalism, break-ins, assaults, robberies and threats – all things that undermine and can ultimately destroy any quality of life. The meeting was well-attended by those whose job it is to support and protect communities like West Pilton. Senior police officer Chief Inspector Bob Paris, local PC Stuart Mitchell, North and Leith MSP Malcolm Chisholm and local councillors Cammy Day – who is also council community safety spokesman – and Vicki Redpath were all there, as was Ruth Stanley, community safety manager at the local North Neighbourhood Office. They can have been left in no doubt over the mood of the meeting. What happens next? Unbeknown to most residents, the Forth area is currently served by a Task Force, established earlier this year to tackle many of the issues raised at last night’s Neighbourhood Centre meeting. Members of that Task Force will now be invited to attend a local public meeting to both hear the concerns of residents for themselves and explain what exactly they are doing to address crime and antisocial behaviour in the area. Malcolm Chisholm will also be seeking an urgent meeting with the local area commander on her return from holiday. You get the impression that reassuring words about effective partnership working just won’t wash this time around – a community has reached the end of it’s tether and is calling for action. Punish the wrongdoers. Enough is enough.