Police target Oxgangs in crackdown

Police arrest a suspect during the crackdown in Wester Hailes

Police arrest a suspect during the crackdown in Wester Hailes

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HIGH-VISIBILITY police patrols and environmental wardens will hit the streets in Oxgangs from today as part of a month-long crackdown on antisocial behaviour.

The third stage of Operation Cipher is being rolled out and will operate for the next four weeks ­following previous efforts aimed at ­tackling crime in the west of the city and ­Pentlands.

Earlier phases led to drugs worth tens of thousands of pounds being seized at addresses across Wester Hailes.

There was also a successful ­campaign targeting dog ­owners after new-born lambs were attacked in Midlothian.

Oxgangs was chosen despite an Edinburgh crime map – released in 2011 – showing the area had the lowest offending in the Capital, with fewer than three incidents per day.

The city council’s mobile CCTV van will be deployed as part of the programme, with licensing and environmental wardens dropping in on local businesses.

One-off diversionary events such as street football matches on Firrhill Neuk and ­community roadshows ­involving police and the ­Scottish Fire and Rescue ­Service are also being held.

Dog fouling, fly tipping, litter, graffiti and noisy ­neighbours will be targeted.

Firrhill Community Council chairwoman Heather Levy said dog fouling was a major ­problem, particularly at ­Colinton Mains Park.

She said: “It’s the first time that anything like this has been done in the area where all the departments have come together.

“There’s an issue with dog fouling.

“It’s irresponsible dog ­handlers. There’s a lot of very responsible dog owners in the area, but it’s like everything – there’s a small minority that ruin it for the majority.”

Ms Levy said Oxgangs acted like a wind tunnel at the foot of the Pentland Hills, meaning ­litter in the area was another sticking point.

“There are buckets of ­overflowing rubbish frequently blowing all over the place,” she said.

Police chiefs previously hailed a near ten per cent drop in crime in the first half of 2012 as evidence that an increased focus on local communities was working.

Police Scotland chief ­inspector Richard Thomas said: “Over the next month our officers will carry out high-­visibility patrols in the Oxgangs area and will take action to reduce incidents of violence and antisocial ­behaviour in the community.

“In addition, we will be ­participating in a range of joint activities along with our ­partners, all with the aim of keeping local residents safe, and we will be engaging with residents in order to listen to and respond to any concerns they may have.”

Oxgangs Councillor Jason Rust welcomed the work, but said: “It will be important to see the outcome following the four weeks of work and to ensure that the good practice ­developed is maintained longer term to tackle any community safety issues.”

City community safety leader Councillor Cammy Day said: “As well as carrying out patrols, ­walkabouts and ­visits, we will be holding drop-in ­centres to give us a chance to get ­feedback from the ­community and learn about their ­concerns.”

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