POLICE resources will not be reduced in Prestonpans, community leaders have been reassured.

A recent meeting of Preston Seton Gosford community and police partnership (CAPP) was told a community police officer was being redeployed to a new role.

Brian Weddell, Prestonpans Community Council chair, contacted Chief Inspector Neil Mitchell, East Lothian’s local area commander, expressing his concerns following the meeting, with the officer’s redeployment coming at the same time as a “significant increase in anti-social behaviour”.

PCs Walker Nixon and Fiona Cunningham are the community police officers for Preston Seton and Gosford (PSG). PC Cunningham works part-time.

But after five years, PC Nixon is to move to a new role covering schools across Musselburgh, Tranent and Prestonpans, a role suited to his skillset, said Ch Insp Mitchell.

He also said it was common for officers to move to different areas of policing to develop their knowledge and experience.

Ch Insp Mitchell added: “It is also an opportunity for others to come in with new ideas and a fresh impetus to deal with the challenges faced.”

Mr Weddell had said in his correspondence to the area commander: “Both officers are widely respected in the PSG ward and have built up close working relationships with community organisations, local businesses and local people, and have been excellent ambassadors for Police Scotland.

“As you will be aware and have seen from the minutes of our regular CAPP meetings, there has been a significant increase in anti-social behaviour in the past year, with particular concern expressed recently about youths from other parts of East and Midlothian and Edinburgh meeting up in the PSG ward and causing problems for local businesses and residents.

“There has also been a lot of media coverage about attacks on buses in Prestonpans, which forced the bus company to re-route its service in the evenings.

“Whilst we recognise that police operational matters are a matter for senior officers in the East Lothian division, Prestonpans Community Council would not like to see a reduction in community officers at a time when there is a need for more, not fewer, community police officers in our area.”

He went on to ask what resources would be put in place following PC Nixon’s redeployment.

Ch Insp Mitchell said that, despite the move, “there will be no reduction in the community policing team” in Prestonpans and that a new officer had been identified for the position and would start their new role on PC Nixon’s last day.

PC Nixon will be replaced by PC John Mann, an existing Musselburgh officer currently undertaking an acting sergeant role who has 11 years’ service across East Lothian and Midlothian.

He will take up the post later this month.

Ch Insp Mitchell added: “He is an experienced officer who knows the area very well and will be a real asset to Prestonpans.

“I am confident that you will be impressed by his enthusiasm, commitment and abilities, and he will work very well in partnership with PC Cunningham.”

When discussing antisocial behaviour, Ch Insp Mitchell said that police were “working very hard to combat the issue”, with “so much positive work going on” that people do not see or hear about.

He added: “We have had significant support from Police Scotland national resources and I am confident that together we can resolve these issues for the long term.”