Q&A with Justice Secretary Michael Matheson
Holyrood asks Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Justice, about some of the key issues on the justice agenda
Police given powers to seize betting slips and jewellery
Police fighting organised crime will be able to seize items including betting slips, casino chips, jewellery and precious stones from suspects. Michael Matheson, the justice secretary, said that the move, which comes into force today, “has the potential to further impact Scottish organised crime”. He called it an important step in ensuring that those involved in illegal activities cannot profit from crime. Under a change to the provisions in the Criminal Finances Act 2017, possessions such as jewellery, watches, stamps and precious stones can be treated like cash in cases where owners are suspected of being involved in illegal activity.
Stalking victims call on government to pledge cash to help cops catch tormentors
Stalking victims have called for the Scottish Government to give police the financial power to tackle the nation’s growing army of tormentors. Since anti-stalking laws came into force eight years ago, the number of cases investigated has more than trebled. Figures from a Scottish Crime Survey last year show that one in six people may have been stalked. Campaigner Ann Moulds and victim Gail Nicholl-Andrews have both joined forces to back the Suzy Lamplugh Trust’s annual Stalking Awareness Week which begins tomorrow.
Drug crooks face crackdown on betting cash as cops target bookies and casinos
Criminals who launder drugs cash at bookies and casinos are being targeted in a tough new crackdown on proceeds of crime. New measures will come into force tomorrow where betting slips, casino chips and winning receipts can now be automatically seized by police in the same way as they confiscate cash. Police Scotland will also have increased powers to search for and seize jewellery, watches, rare stamps and precious stones which were bought with laundered money.
Police Scotland ready to pay out over illegal surveillance
Police Scotland is preparing to make compensation payments to four men put under illegal surveillance by the force’s Counter Corruption Unit. The now-defunct CCU breached guidelines on accessing communications data when, in 2015, it attempted to uncover a journalist’s sources following stories about the investigation into the unsolved murder of Emma Caldwell in 2005. Durham Constabulary, which was brought in to carry out an investigation into the episode, said the four men – two serving officers and two retired officers – had been “gravely wronged”.
Rural crime hits a four year high
A rural crime wave is sweeping across the British countryside, with the number of reported incidents at their highest level since 2013. The situation has been highlighted by rural insurer NFU Mutual, where the latest records show a 13.4% increase in crime incidents in just one year. Initial estimates suggest that theft cost the UK’s rural homes, businesses and farms a staggering £44.5million in 2017. Every year, the Mutual publishes a detailed report on rural crime trends in August which provides detailed analysis including county statistics and information on changing patterns of theft – but this year, the high level of incidents and widespread concern in rural communities has led the company to issue an early warning to farmers and country dwellers that they need to increase their security.
Police bosses act to protect officers from deadly ticks
Police have been issued with guidance to prevent them being infected with a debilitating disease spread by ticks. Police Scotland officers are being urged to spray insect repellent on the stomach and ankles – and tick removers are being made available. SPF Vice Chairman David Hamilton said: “The nature of policing is that we are often in “tick areas” – and therefore it was thought the sensible thing to remind people and give occupational health advice, it isn’t that officers are particularly at high risk – ticks don’t particularly like police officers are more than anyone else. It is letting people know.”