IT WAS absolutely tragic to hear about all the recent water-related incidents. My thoughts go out to the families and loved ones of those affected.

Our coastline is stunning and a big lure to all when we get warm weather, but it’s also an extremely dangerous place, even for the most experienced swimmers and supervised children. Conditions can change very quickly and there are hidden risks such as deep water and strong currents.

Last Sunday, I was at North Berwick along with our colleagues from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, RNLI and Coastguard to raise awareness of water safety. When we were setting up our pop-up event, the news broke about further deaths at Loch Lomond which shocked us all but made us more intent on getting our message across to those at the beach.

We spoke to hundreds of people of all ages, providing advice and guidance about keeping themselves safe in the water. Goodie bags were provided by the Coastguard and lots of really good feedback was received.

I have previously used this column to raise awareness of water safety but people are still putting themselves at risk and so I make no apology for writing about this very important subject.

The Coastguard rescue team informed me that, outwith their normal operational days, they have had 52 callouts this year and the RNLI have had 20. Only last week, they rescued an empty inflatable which had been blown away. It is imperative that should you lose an inflatable, it is reported to them with details of the location it is lost and type and colour, to prevent a full-scale callout. There were also young children swept out to sea by the current who had to be rescued.

The message is clear, do not use inflatables in the sea, they are for an enclosed swimming pool. If you see someone in distress or are yourself in trouble, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

Last week saw the publishing of more alarming figures of increased drug deaths across Scotland. I am really saddened by this news, as each of the 1,339 deaths represents real people who have died and had their futures destroyed through their addiction. This is a real public health crisis and must be tackled as such.

In East Lothian, we launched Operation Juneau last year to support people affected by substance misuse and reduce the effect this has on our communities. This was not just about seizing drugs from suppliers but identifying and supporting those most at risk, and providing them and their families with support.

As a result of this operation, an East Lothian multi-agency sub group named the ‘Drug and Alcohol Harms Group’ was formed with key partners from all agencies working closely to tackle the challenges of addiction head on. The work of this group is well under way and I look forward to seeing the fruits of this.

I finish by recognising some excellent work from my officers in the arrest of two men over break-ins in Tranent and Musselburgh and the theft of high-value items. These sort of crimes are rare in the county and it was causing me considerable concern. Following some excellent observations, professionalism and outstanding follow-up investigation, two men were arrested and charged with eight housebreakings or attempted housebreakings and a number of road traffic offences.