Wednesday, 7 January 2009

PC Ben Merrick moves on

The Southsider is an excellent local newspaper produced by George Pitcher and the Southside Association. The winter issue (not online) contains an excellent and informative article from community constable Ben Merrick who, alas, announces he is moving on. However, part of his article is worth replicating word for word here.


I 'm back from holiday in India, and after having a lovely time in temperatures in the high eighties while sitting on horses, camels and one very patient elephant I'm back to having to move myself around. St. Leonard’s ticked on without me, and they still managed to catch a lot of people without any input from me. A house in Nicolson Street was raided by our own Neighbourhood Action Unit along with our Divisional Drugs Unit colleagues, at the beginning of November. Several hundred pounds worth of heroin were seized, and the occupier charged with supplying it. Another local resident who claimed she had been assaulted and robbed three times to hide her own thefts has been charged with wasting Police time, and finally one of our prolific bike thieves has been caught in the act, with some heroin in his pocket. And have I mentioned the very silly student found in a car in South Clerk Street with a local dealer, a car full of cocaine, Ecstasy and cash that no one could account for? Both charged with concerned in the supply of class A drugs. No, wait, there's more! One of our most active female thieves was arrested on nine outstanding warrants this week. Four males have been charged with thefts of bags and laptops from University premises in George Square and Bristo Square and finally we have a fall in bike thefts. I can now get rid of my collection of four leaf clovers, lucky rabbits feet and stop touching wood. It gets even better.

Operations Aura, Arctic and Allegro are ongoing. We have uniformed, and plain clothes officers out, in South Clerk Street, Nicolson Street, Cameron Toll and Bruntsfield/Morningside, so we have more cover where we need it at the busiest time of the year, and our Search and Recovery Team who deal with second hand dealers and brokers have managed to recover two customised guitars stolen from a band at a local public house, with the male responsible charged and the show able to go on. I'm very happy .
But there's a but.....
Some common stairs are being used to inject and smoke heroin, and I'm afraid that some occupiers appear unwilling to take the simple crime prevention advice that will help prevent undesirables abusing drugs in their closes. Likewise, some people will forget the "goodwill towards their fellows" message and drive drunk, and the dark nights, slippery roads and people insisting on cycling without lights, all of which can lead to more road casualties than any of us would like.


On a personal basis, after four and a half very enjoyable years pretending to be a cross between the Sheriff of Dumbiedykes and the Southside Avenger (second class) I'm afraid I'm moving on. I'm off to Fettes, to join the Mounted Section. I'll be 9"2 when on the horse, and intend to visit all of my colleagues to personally point out to them that" I am now considerably taller than all of you " (joke copyright Harry Enfield, 1997). I've thoroughly enjoyed myself working here, and promise to trot through the Meadows occasionally, although I've been told the stetson and pointed badge are a no no.

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