‘Shambolic’ Police Scotland slammed over plan to take 13 YEARS to deliver consistent crime recording
Police Scotland has been branded “shambolic” after it emerged different divisions are still recording crimes in different ways – almost five years after the unified force was formed. The Courier can reveal that the Scottish information commissioner is investigating the service because of its refusal to share details of performance and operations due to the high cost of collating data from around the country. Police Scotland said it would be 2026 before the unification of Scotland’s historic forces is fully completed – 13 years after it took control of policing. A total of 1,043 freedom of information requests have been rejected on the grounds of cost since 2016. Most refusals were due to the fact that the 13 divisions are still using their own methods to collate data.
Anas Sarwar in ‘tense’ meeting with police official following ‘race card’ row
Anas Sarwar has had a tense meeting with the police union official who accused him of “playing the race card” after he questioned stop and search rates. The Labour MSP met David Hamilton, the vice chair of the Scottish Police Federation, in a coffee shop next to the Scottish Labour conference in Dundee. Daniel Johnson, Labour’s justice spokesman at Holyrood, was also present. Mr Sarwar was overheard voicing his displeasure at Mr Hamilton’s comments, and saying he was better placed to discuss racism than he was.
Scotland told to scrap automatic life sentences for murderers
Scotland should abolish automatic life sentences for murderers, according to a leading international justice expert. Professor Dirk Van Zyl Smit said the country – which has twice as many ‘lifers’ as France – had a get-tough penal system which was increasingly out of kilter with the rest of Europe. The South African insists “not all murderers are equally dangerous” and urged Scotland to follow the example of places like Norway — where far right terrorist Anders Breivik was given a maximum sentence of 21 years for killing 77 people.
Charities give their backing to dedicated A&E mental health unit in Dundee
MSP Jenny Marra has called for the new service to be established following a revelation from Tayside’s most senior police officer that mental health is the force’s “greatest challenge”. The Scottish Government has faced renewed pressure from campaigners to implement the proposal following a string of shocking and violent incidents in Dundee where mental health was identified as a potential factor. The incidents have raised serious questions over the way mental health is managed across the region and the quality of services available for people reaching crisis point. Robin Murphy from the charity Papyrus, which specialises in prevention of young suicide, said it could cause further distress and anxiety when those in crisis are unable to access support quickly.
Domestic abuse incidents continue to grow in the Borders
Domestic abuse incidents rose by more than ten per cent last year. But the number of cases which led to court convictions remained almost static. The figures were released to the recent Police, Fire, Rescue and Safer Communities Board, which meets every couple of months at Scottish Borders Council. In 2016 there were 743 reports of domestic abuse in the Borders, which includes all aspects of sexual crimes, however, last year this figure had risen to 823. The number of cases which resulted in a criminal report being tabled went from only 48 to 49 during the same period.
Call for unity to stamp out sectarianism in football
Fans, clubs and the police need to work together to tackle sectarianism at football according to the MSP whose bill will scrap the controversial Offensive Behaviour Act. James Kelly’s bill is almost certain to be passed this week by the Scottish Parliament with the backing of all four opposition parties. Mr Kelly said a societal approach was needed not just targeting football fans but to stamp out bigotry and hatred at matches, then co-operation was required. The Labour MSP for Glasgow said the act has hindered efforts to tackle sectarianism by creating mistrust between fans and police.