Police have charged 38 children and young people during an operation targeting antisocial behaviour and violence towards Lothian Buses drivers.

‘Operation Proust’ identified 127 incidents relating to the abuse of local bus drivers and vehicles which included young people holding onto the rear of buses whilst the vehicle was in motion and interference with engine compartments whilst vehicles were stationary.

Lothian Buses Photo: www.martinmcadam.com

In a report outlining the operation, Chief Inspector Sarah Taylor, the North-West Edinburgh Area Commander, writes: “Operation Proust was launched in response to an identified rise in youth related anti-social behaviour and disorder incidents aimed towards Edinburgh transport providers, most notably, Lothian Buses across Edinburgh.

“These incidents impacted all aspects of our local communities, not just drivers and passengers but also the wider public through service disruption and the withdrawal of services from key routes on a number of evenings in March and April.

“The criminality involved included objects being thrown at buses while in transit, young people holding onto the rear of buses whilst the vehicle was in motion and interference with engine compartments whilst vehicles were stationary.

“Over the six-week period of the operation, 127 incidents relating to Proust were investigated and 38 children and young people were charged with a variety of offences.”

The operation involved officers patrolling on buses, in vehicles, and on foot in areas affected, and last week Police Scotland revealed it had been deploying a decoy bus in Midlothian to try and catch vandals in the act.

“The operation had two key aims, namely the co-ordinated investigation of incidents, ensuring a consistency in approach across the city, and to achieve a long term change in behaviour through prevention and early intervention activity.

“To assist in the delivery of a more strategic approach to these issues, a city wide Community Improvement Partnership was established in April.

“In the four week period since the operation concluded, recorded incidents have fallen by 80 per cent.”

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