Crime in Portobello - our right to know

Discussion and debate on the issues affecting Portobello

Crime in Portobello - our right to know

Postby Bob Jefferson » 02 Mar 2005, 20:45

Don't know about you, but I'm getting a bit fed up of reading about crime in Portobello second-hand in the Evening News. Here's an example from today's edition:

Meanwhile, police have also appealed for information after 25 cars parked in the Joppa Park area of Portobello had their tyres slashed.

The incidents happened sometime between 6pm on Saturday and 9am on Sunday.

The cars were parked outside homes in Bedford Terrace, Joppa Park, Esplanade Terrace and Coillesdene Avenue.

A police spokeswoman said: "It would appear that someone has deliberately targeted a number of cars, causing severe and costly damage to many of the tyres. This has caused a great deal of stress to the car owners.

"We would appeal to anyone who may have seen anyone hanging around the cars, acting suspiciously to get in touch."


I was at the Community Council meeting at Monday and I don't recall this being mentioned at all in the Police report.

For some time now, I and others have been asking for accurate, up to date reports from the local police. The outgoing Inspector was very reluctant to allow information to go on the website. In all other regards I held him in great esteem but I could never understand his position on this. I'm sure the general readership of the EN takes some interest in the goings-on in Portobello, but the people who really want the facts are us, the people who live here and it seems to me that the place for a local crime report is right here on the community website.

So my plea to the new Inspector is simply this: can we please be given the facts? We want to support your efforts to tackle crime in our community and at the same time we want you to engage with us via a medium that is read regularly by hundreds if not thousands of local residents.

I shall be pursuing this matter on behalf of Portobello Online and I know that Brian McCrow feels that Portobello Neighbourhood Watch Association is being left out of the loop as well.

What crimes have been committed in Portobello on a daily basis? What action did the Police take? Don't you think we have the right to know?
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Postby Brian McCrow » 05 Mar 2005, 09:51

Inspector, Bob Wardrop, has asked one of the Community Bobbies to attend our next PortyWatch meeting on Tuesday 8th March at Porty Library at 18.30 and to provide the local crime figures.

The Police should be accountable to the local community and hence should publish their targets and how well they are doing against them.

I understand these figures are available on a City wide basis, we would like to see the local figures.
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Postby Bob Jefferson » 05 Mar 2005, 11:38

Depends what he means by 'local crime figures'. In my experience Police stats aren't usually very meaningful and I speak as someone who has helped to produce them over the years. To begin with, you need to understand the terminology, then you have to appreciate the context and finally you have to remember the old adage about lies, damned lies and statistics.

Figures for LPA East will include both Portobello and Craigmillar Sectors. Figures for Portobello Sector will include Meadowbank - Ward 35, Mountcastle - Ward 36, Leith Links - Ward 37, Restalrig - Ward 38, Portobello - Ward 39 and Milton - Ward 40.

Call me insular, but as a resident of Portobello/Joppa I don't really care what's happening elsewhere unless it affects me. Of course, as a resident of Edinburgh, I have an interest in the bigger picture but above all I want to know what is happening in my community. That means I want separate figures for Ward/Beat 39 and Ward/Beat 40 and I want them to be accurate, easy to understand and up to date.

I also want to know, on a daily basis, what crimes have been committed in these wards, what action was taken and the outcome.

Am I asking too much? Are we entitled to this under FOI? The stated aim of L&B Police is to work in partnership with the community. Let's start with mutual trust and the sharing of information.
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