The 2016/17 crime data published by the Scottish Government show that Edinburgh has the fourth highest crime rate in Scotland – it is 31% above the national average. In response to that, police numbers have been cut and officers have been moved out of the Edinburgh Division and into centralised functions.
There are Councillors in Edinburgh that say this is not good enough, and there are those that choose to defend the Scottish Government’s record rather than stand up for our Capital. They claim crime in Scotland is at a 43 year low, but they fail to mention that crime is falling fast across the western world and that there was a 12.25% rise reported in sexual crime last year.
Although the crime rate is above average and police numbers are being cut, it is worth noting that the Council actually gives Police Scotland £2.6m per year – that’s 10 times more than any other Council. That’s right, the Council is taking money out of schools, roads and social care to support the Police when it should be fully funded by the Scottish Government. Most recently this included buying four motorbikes for Police Scotland – one of which has travelled just 400 miles since April.
In my own Ward, the £2.6m pays the wages of two diligent officers who work tirelessly to keep the community safe. However, as far as I am concerned, they should be funded by the Scottish Government – not my Council Tax.
Although the Council is working hard to ensure we get good value from that £2.6m, Senior Council Officers can’t guarantee me it is being well spent.
So let’s stand up for the cops in our Capital and demand that the Scottish Government give them the funding they need to keep us safe. I’m not talking about reopening closed Police Stations or putting “Bobbies on the beat”, I am talking about enabling them to meet the needs of the public without handouts from the Council.