#StrongerNorth initiaitive launched in WestPilton
Police Scotland, the city council and the local community have joined forces to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour in North Edinburgh. Working together under the #StrongerNorth banner, they will work together to address community safety concerns across the area.
Last month, residents expressed anger at an apparent failure by local agencies to respond to concerns over antisocial behaviour in West Pilton. A public meeting followed the stabbing of a Chinese takeaway shop owner and residents demanded action to tackle gangs of ‘out of control’ youths. Last night’s meeting, again organised by West Pilton West Granton Community Council, was an opportunity for the authorities to respond.
Around twenty local residents attended the meeting in West Pilton Neighbourhood Centre, and heard that both police and the city council have poured extra resources into the area to address community concerns. The agencies are working closely together on a number of initiaitives to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour in the area and local residents were told that ‘West Pilton will remain a high priority for us as long as it needs to be’.
Local area Commander Sarah Buchanan acknowledged that communication with the local community was not as good as it should have been and told the meeting that this now being addressed. “We are very aware of your concerns and we are acting to address these”, she said. ” It is really important to share information about what we are doing at all sorts of different levels and we will continue to do this. #StrongerNorth will help to improve communications with the local community- we will endeavour to get out as much information about what we are doing as we can, as quickly as we can.”
North Neighbourhood Manager Peter Strong highlighted a number of ongoing initiatives and assured the meeting that community concerns are being taken seriously. “We recognise there is a crisis, and we are here to help. This is not just about the council, or the police. It’s about all of us working together to make this a good community to stay in.”
Concerns were raised again over punishments and ‘rewards’ – there is still a perception that the ‘bad’ kids get all the treats to encourage them to change their behaviour, while ‘good’ kids go without.
Senior Children & Families official Alistair Gaw outlined procedures for dealing with offending children, and said: “The Children’s Hearings have substantial powers, but we are dealing with very serious problems. A number of these young people have had hundreds of charges”.
Community councillor Willie Black called for the local community to rally round to to support – and lead – efforts to change the area. “It’s fight or flight”, he said. “We don’t want to see people leaving the area, we’ve got to fight to make our community a vibrant place that people want to come to. There are some truly great things happening all across this area and we’ve got to build on that.
“We’re here – it’s our patch and we need to get it sorted. We can build an area where everyone can feel welcome – an area everyone can be proud of.”