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Police launch Operation Winter City to keep people safe during festive period

Edinburgh’s Christmas and Hogmanay events are returning in full this year (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Edinburgh’s Christmas and Hogmanay events are returning in full this year (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Police have launched an operation to keep those who live and work in the Scottish capital safe over the festive period.

Running until January 3, Operation Winter City will see an increased police presence throughout Edinburgh city centre, providing public reassurance and deterring criminal activity.

It is expected that Edinburgh’s attractions will be at full capacity this year, due to the removal of Covid restrictions, and the city is expected to be considerably busier than recent festive periods.

Edinburgh is well-known for its festive celebrations, including the Christmas market, an ice rink, Santa Land and a variety of funfair rides.

The Hogmanay festival will also be returning next month after the Covid pandemic led to the famous street party being cancelled in 2020 and 2021.

New Year 2020 celebrations
Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations will go ahead in full this year (Jane Barlow/PA)

Sophie Ellis-Bextor will headline the Night Afore Disco Party on December 30, with Scottish band Altered Images also on the bill, while the Pet Shop Boys will headline the Hogmanay show.

Throughout Operation Winter City, police will undertake foot and mobile patrols to engage with the public, offer reassurance and respond to any incidents.

Superintendent Sam Ainslie, gold commander for Operation Winter City, said: “I am privileged to be leading this year’s event, and with no restrictions in place I fully expect that the city centre will be back to its vibrant best.

“As with all other times of the year, we remain committed to ensuring that everyone enjoys Edinburgh’s events, attractions and venues safely. However, notwithstanding our efforts, the public also have a vital role in helping us achieve this.

“I would ask if you are heading into the city centre at any point over Christmas and new year, that you make sure that you know how you will be travelling, both there and back. Please also ensure that you keep hold of your belongings at all times.”

Christmas 2021
Edinburgh is known for its Christmas lights and festivities (Jane Barlow/PA)

Revellers are urged to be mindful if drinking alcohol, with police warning violent or anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated.

Police can impose “Think Twice” bail conditions if members of the public are involved in an alcohol-linked crime, which will ban them from pubs or anywhere in the city centre that sells alcohol until after their case is dealt with in the courts.

Ms Ainslie added: “As with other major events in Edinburgh, we will benefit from the additional support offered by officers and staff drawn from across Police Scotland, and I am grateful for the efforts of all colleagues forming part of Operation Winter City 2022.

“We will regularly post what our officers are doing to keep you safe during this year’s campaign, including crime prevention and personal safety updates.

“As ever, Edinburgh city division wishes you and your loved ones a safe festive period.”