Bonfire night dispersal zones set up across Edinburgh

The special zones are aimed to help tackle antisocial behaviour throughout the city.

Bonfire: Dispersal zones to be set up.
Bonfire: Dispersal zones to be set up.

Dispersal zones will be set up across Edinburgh again this year to help tackle antisocial behaviour and disorder ahead of Bonfire Night.

The special zones will cover areas in all four corners of the city between 2pm and midnight from Friday November 1 to Tuesday November 5.

It will allow police to easily exercise dispersal powers within the designated zones, if required, under the Antisocial Behaviour (Scotland) Act 2004.

Any group of two or more people deemed to be congregating and behaving in an antisocial manner can be instructed to move on and not return for up to 24 hours – or face being arrested.

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Chief Inspector Murray Starkey said: “Police in Edinburgh have been working closely with our partners at City of Edinburgh Council and Scottish Fire and Rescue Service through the citywide Community Improvement Partnership specifically set up in response to the events we saw over the Bonfire period in 2017.

“Although the number of calls concerning antisocial behaviour dropped last year, and more significantly there was not the level of damage caused or levels of violence displayed from 2017, there were still pockets of antisocial behaviour, damage and disruption, which caused alarm and distress for our communities.

“This type of behaviour remains completely unacceptable.”

He added: “As we witnessed last year, the use of dispersal zones enabled police to robustly tackle antisocial behaviour and general disorder in key areas of the city, allowing us to move on people who are causing a nuisance.

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“Anyone who is banned will receive a copy of the map so that it is clear where they should not be and that they will be arrested and put before the courts if they are found to have returned to continue the same behaviour.

“Use of these powers and the zones cover have been well planned and are based upon the issues we experienced over the past two years.

“It is just one tool that we will be utilising to make these areas safer and help people to feel safer over this busy time.

“Specialist resources will be available to complement local officers who will be on patrol across Edinburgh over the Halloween and Bonfire Night period.”

It comes after Sainsbury’s became the first major British retailer to ban fireworks following concerns for pet safety.

The supermarket chain has dozens of stores across the city. Other major shops are keeping fireworks on their shelves and instead selling “silent” versions or including safety advice to protect animals.

The decision followed a survey that found the majority of people in Scotland supported a ban on the sale of fireworks to the public.


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