New police chief vows to increase patrol numbers

THE new police commander for Edinburgh has pledged to ensure that officers are far more visible, saying he wants people to see more patrols on the streets.

Chief Superintendent Mark Williams has been appointed head of the new city division ahead of the single force launch in April.

Lothian and Borders Police will cease to exist in late March and the 43-year-old will lead the city’s new force forward.

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Chief Supt Williams said despite huge internal changes when the eight forces merge the Edinburgh public should expect to see more officers on the beat.

A new blueprint for local policing is still being drawn up, but the existing division has 1250 officers and is responsible for tackling crime, patrolling the night-time economy, tackling drugs and reassuring


Officers will also make greater use of social media such as Twitter to keep in touch with the public.

Chief Supt Williams, from East Lothian, said: “Clearly our number one priority is to cut crime, and the challenge is to maintain the levels of service.

“The public shouldn’t notice any chance in the service – in fact, it should be better. The whole premise of Police Scotland is that policing will be delivered locally.

“We will be working to increase visibility on the streets, having officers at local meetings and using social media to ensure we’re engaged with the public.

“Cutting violent crime, tackling antisocial behaviour and ensuring the most vulnerable aren’t victimised will be at the heart of local policing.”

Among the features of the new force is having a “highly localised” policing strategy for every council ward area so, for example, priorities may differ between Leith and Meadows/Morningside.

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Chief Supt Williams, who is currently divisional commander for East Lothian and Midlothian, began his career in Edinburgh as a constable in 1993.

He was previously a superintendent for the busy city centre, which includes operations at the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh Castle and policing marches, and is one of 14 new commanders Scotland-wide.

He said: “It’s a great honour. I first arrived in Edinburgh in 1993 as a constable and to be returning as commander is a huge privilege.

“We’ve been out listening to the public and the priority for us will be to focus on areas which matter to them.”

Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick, who is tasked with overseeing the delivery of local policing across Scotland, said the new style of policing would be “highly localised”.

She said: “Local policing is the engine room of the single police service. We will work hard to ensure that local connects to national and that specialist functions are available equally throughout the country, according to demand and need.”