WHAT a few weeks it’s been, not just for the police but for all our partners working exceptionally hard to ensure that collectively we do our very best during the recent bad weather.

Significant weather-related events are not uncommon for the county, particularly with flooding and the impact this has.

I remember many years ago, I transferred from Gayfield in Edinburgh to Haddington as a sergeant. My first shift was a night shift and I thought I would get to know the area again and meet the officers on the team – but it wasn’t going to be so straightforward.

Prior to my shift, significant rainfall had fallen and a flood warning was issued. I arrived at work and was asked by my control room to prepare for serious flooding and to implement the flood group.

“The what?” was my reply, having no previous knowledge such a thing existed!

I was then given a folder which contained many laminated pages containing the full details and the actions I needed to take.

Over the following hours, partners from all across Scotland became involved, many called out of their beds for meetings and joint decision making to manage the risk from the flooding and to keep people safe. I remember being so impressed with the plan and everyone’s commitment and knowledge of it, which undoubtedly made a huge difference to our communities.

In anticipation of the recent snowfall, a severe weather group was again called.

Due to Covid-19, these meetings are held online but they bring together a large number of specialists alongside statutory and third-sector agencies. Planning for the snow was done well in advance of its arrival and what I can tell you is that this group’s action mitigated many issues and reduced the demand on our services.

Many of you may not be aware of the planning, preparation and action taken in the background to keep residents safe and the road and transport network operating.

I wanted to say a thank you to all those workers and volunteers whose vital support made such a great difference to many.

Across the county, due to the snowfall, we had minor road accidents and vehicles stuck on roadways but no serious incidents or problems.

There was an increase in youth-related disorder, which was mainly down to reports of youths throwing snowballs, and we did our best to respond to these calls; however, we too have challenges around transport. The majority of our local vehicles are not off-road or 4x4 vehicles, so sometimes we get stuck too and have to consider our options when responding to calls.

I am glad to see the snow has now pretty much gone but, rest assured, the police and our partners will be ready and prepared for the next weather challenge.