On 5 November of this year (Bonfire Night 2017), there was a significant uptick in antisocial and violent behaviour throughout the constituency, and this was greatly aided by fireworks. Incidents included vehicles being driven into bonfires in Loganlea, and fireworks shot at residents and police officers. Police officers themselves by targeted by a group of some 50 youths, and they were setting of fireworks near an open gasworks, which posed a big risk to responding officers.
Many constituents contacted me were gravely concerned and advocated for stricter laws around the sale and use of fireworks.
- I wrote to the UK Government and Scottish Government advocating for all fireworks laws to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament so that Scotland can legislate appropriately. Local incidents like this demand local solutions, which is why full lawmaking on fireworks should rest with Scotland. While the UK Government was not supportive of this, the Scottish Government’s Minister for Legal Affairs guaranteed me her policy officials are gathering evidence on the issue of fireworks nation-wide and will report back with proposed solutions.
- I held a public meeting with over 70 community members and representatives from the City of Edinburgh Council, police and fire services. There was a significant amount of information discussed and concerns raised by residents. The Council, police and fire services are working together to do an internal review of planning, resources and tools to ensure they can adequately respond and prevent similar antisocial behaviour. This includes evaluating the amount of youth services.
- The majority of people in attendance of the public meeting favoured banning fireworks except for public displays.
Community members and City of Edinburgh officials at the public meeting on fireworks.