AS WE START the Christmas holidays and despite the recent increase in temperatures, I would wish to share the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service advice about water safety.

Whether it’s a river, pond, canal or reservoir, frozen water should be avoided.

While the ice may look solid, it can suddenly crack and cause a person to fall through and potentially become trapped under the ice.

The consequences, as we have sadly seen from the recent tragedy in the West Midlands, can be fatal, as the low temperature of the water can bring on cold water shock which can lead to a heart attack.

Please do not allow your children to play on or near frozen water this winter.

And for those hardy wild swimmers, please listen to your body and do not feel pressurised to stay in the water any longer than you feel comfortable with. Ensure you have plenty of layers to get dressed in after your dip and have something hot to drink on hand.

I love to swim through the winter, but limit my swims to minutes as the temperatures drop.

Secondly, I would like to mention our Police Scotland Youth Volunteers (PSYVs), who are coming to the end of their initial training period, where they have worked hard to develop their knowledge of the police service and develop their skills and confidence.

Recently, the PSYVs helped with the Cockenzie and Port Seton in Bloom Community Garden, which has been targeted by vandals in recent months.

The young people really enjoyed their time helping repair the damage. This was their first community event and they are currently planning new activities for next year. I hope that you will be able to see them out and about in the local community next year.

There will also be another recruitment campaign to bring more young people into the scheme. Please keep an eye out on our Facebook page for further details.

Finally, as this is my last column of the year, I would take the time to thank officers, staff and all our partners who have helped keep our communities safe this year. I wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.