Glasgow police on Edinburgh beat in ‘buddy’ plan
And their respective forces in Edinburgh and Glasgow have traditionally enjoyed a rivalry which saw them jealously guard their “patches”.
But such tribal behaviour has receded in recent years and, with the launch of Police Scotland, their growing partnership reached new heights yesterday.
A dozen Glasgow-based officers were deployed for the first time on patrols in the Capital in a move city commander Chief Superintendent Mark Williams called “unique”.
The uniformed officers, who previously served with the now-defunct Strathclyde Police, are part of the new National Alcohol and Violence Reduction Unit.
Each was “buddied up” with an Edinburgh-based colleague to help tackle antisocial behaviour, street drinking, aggressive begging and drug dealing – and to learn their way around the city centre.
Members of the public noticed their heavy presence, and camaraderie was quickly apparent among the newly-formed partnerships. One onlooker asked which officers were from Glasgow and was told: “It doesn’t matter. We’re all Police Scotland now.”
Chief Supt Williams said: “We buddied the officers up so they can get to know each other, and the officers from Glasgow can get to know the city. They came through from Glasgow on the train and will go back on the train, which I’m sure will provide extra reassurance for other travellers.”
The 12 patrols spent four hours carrying out foot patrols in areas including Princes Street, the Cowgate, Leith Walk and the New Kirkgate Shopping Centre.
The teams had their successes yesterday, making three arrests, visiting licensed premises and targeting criminals known to frequent the High Street and Old Town.
It also formed a trial run for the Campaign Against Violence (CAV) Days planned for Edinburgh. Next Friday will see the first CAV Day where senior police chiefs and desk-bound officers take to the beat under Police Scotland. Fifty extra officers are expected to be on the streets.
Chief Supt Williams said: “This has been a really unique day. It’s the first week of Police Scotland and we have officers from across Scotland here to support our officers. Police officer numbers are unchanged in Edinburgh under Police Scotland. The national anti-violence team has 50 Glasgow-based officers, and we’ll be able to call upon them.”
Chief Supt Williams said violent crime in the city had fallen over the last year, but the aim was to “drive it down further”.
He added: “Officers from the National Alcohol and Violence Reduction Team can be deployed anywhere across the country. With Edinburgh’s vibrant night-time economy, I will be particularly looking to make use of this assistance at weekends.”
Chief Superintendent Bob Hamilton, from the National Alcohol and Violence Reduction Unit, accompanied his team members yesterday and was impressed by the spirit of co-operation.
He said: “Police Scotland is about keeping people safe and today shows that when boundaries are broken down communities in Scotland can benefit from an increase in specialists and resources that are available.”
Role model: Rebus
Most likely to be called to: A demo at the Scottish Parliament
Specialist skills: Thanks to the trams and endless road works, Capital cops are world leaders in redirecting traffic.
Most likely to say: “Parking tickets are a civil matter, sir/The Castle is that way”
Fueled by: Krispy Kreme doughnuts
role model: Taggart
Most likely to be called to: A bit of a rammy or a chibbin
Specialist skills: With the fourth highest murder rate in Europe, Glasgow cops are highly experienced at tracking down killers.
Most likely to say: “There’s been a murder”
fueled by: Greggs sausage rolls