City services take centre stage as festivals get underway
The city council and local police have their plans in place to ensure this summer’s Edinburgh festival is one to remember for all the right reasons.
Operation Summer City kicked off at The Stand Comedy club yesterday, where local police unveiled their message for the coming weeks – ‘Festival Safety It’s No Joke’.
Over the coming weeks local policing teams will be supported by other resources from across the city to offer a range of useful information aimed at safeguarding local residents and visitors from the type of offences that typically occur during the summer months.
In addition to the Hold Onto Your Stuff initiative, which is aimed at tackling acquisitive crime, officers will also be promoting the Good Nights Out Get Home Safe campaign to ensure revellers can enjoy a safe and fun night out in the Capital before returning home safely.
High visibility patrols will be undertaken to deter antisocial behaviour and alcohol-related violence and there will be an emphasis on discouraging the use of drugs and new psychoactive substances.
Edinburgh Division’s social media pages are to be used extensively to promote safety messages throughout the Festival and the star of the show this year will be PC Amanda the Panda, who will appear in a variety of images and videos online.
Superintendent Lesley Clark from Edinburgh Division said: “Edinburgh is a very exciting and vibrant place to be during the Festival with hundreds of thousands of people attending the range of events and activities taking place over the coming month.
“With such an increase of people within the city it’s really important that we have a visible presence within the city centre and across the Capital to engage with the public, offer guidance on crime prevention and personal safety and deter any criminal activity from taking place.
“Protecting our communities is at the very heart of Operation Summer City and with so many people gathering in crowded places, armed officers will form part of the resources we deploy to complement the National Barrier Asset which we have seen being constructed in key locations over the past week.
“Please do not be alarmed by the presence of these officers, who are there only as a precaution and are usually more than happy to pose for photos.
“Our Unofficial Fringe Venue 999 returns for a second year and will be positioned in East Princes Street Gardens. Members of the public are more than welcome to drop in for a chat on security matters, pick up one our safety advice leaflets, or get a picture with our new mascot for Summer City – PC Amanda the Panda.
“After the successful debut of PC Bobbi and Baddie Bear last year, the furry duo have found a loving new home and so PC Panda will be our headline act and will appear regularly on our social media sites to offer a range of useful information and advice.
“You can keep up to date with PC Panda and all of our Summer City messaging by liking the Police Scotland Edinburgh Division Facebook page and by following @EdinburghPolice on Twitter.”
As Edinburgh gears up to celebrate 70 years of the Festival, the City of Edinburgh Council’s measures to keep the city looking its best for the anniversary are well under way. More than 40 additional staff will provide 24-7 street cleansing support over the busy summer months, joining the existing team of 90 working across the city’s Old and New Town.
On Wednesday, one of the crews was joined by Australian Fringe regulars, the Trash Test Dummies, who shared their own theatrical take on binning their litter.
The circus-style performers, who make use of wheelie bins, brooms and bin bags in their acrobatic show, checked out one of the Council’s own litter bins, specially branded to encourage the public to drop their rubbish in, and one of 350 emptied daily in the city centre.
Environment Convener, Councillor Lesley Macinnes, said: “This is such an exciting time of year, when we welcome many thousands of visitors to our city, including, as Trash Test Dummies have demonstrated, some of the more creative members of society!
“As ever, we want to ensure Edinburgh is as clean and tidy as possible for both residents and visitors and, thanks to our hard-working city centre team, we hope to be able to manage demand over the busy period.
“However, we rely on the public doing their share too. We would encourage people to always take care when disposing of their rubbish to help make the Capital as beautiful as we all know it is.”
Increased Festival street cleansing activity, which has been arranged based on demand over previous years, will see additional bin collection resources, as well as more frequent collections, during the busy months.
Day time ‘barrow beat’ staff, who are responsible for cleaning around 180km of streets, will be assisted by a night services crew, on hand to service litter bins and trade waste near pubs, clubs and fast food shops.
Dedicated Environmental Wardens will patrol the area, focusing on particularly busy periods, to discourage litter-dropping and fly-tipping, working alongside the Waste Compliance Team to enforce again any trade waste infringements by businesses. In the Grassmarket, specially-appointed Ambassadors will also monitor waste and cleansing in the area, while providing advice and guidance to visitors.
The public will be encouraged to do their part too, with a series of comedy-themed posters, online videos, ‘bin me’ stickers for takeaway packaging and popular ‘ballot’ cigarette bins designed to encourage responsible rubbish disposal, as part of the ongoing Our Edinburgh campaign.
Find out more about reporting litter on the Council website.