Scotland follows England and Wales in appointing biometrics commissioner
The Scottish Government plans to create a new biometrics commissioner role to oversee how Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority handle biometric data such as fingerprints, DNA samples and facial scans. It published a bill to establish the role on 31 May. If passed by MSPs the bill will lead to a commissioner being appointed by, then reporting to, the Scottish Parliament.
Roadside cops in Dundee to test drivers for drugs with saliva kit
Police officers in Dundee will soon be able to instantly test drivers for cannabis and cocaine with a roadside saliva test. The kit can determine within minutes if the driver has drugs in their system, allowing officers to move straight for a blood test. This blood sample will then be sent for analysis to detect 17 different controlled drugs with set limits under new drug driving legislation. If it comes back positive then the driver will be charged with drug driving, under section 5(a) of the Road Traffic Act 1988. PC Aileen Walker, of road policing management support at Police Scotland, said: “At least 80% of all drug users ingest a combination of drugs and most of them use cannabis or cocaine.
Attempted house break-ins up by 74%
The number of house break-ins reported in Midlothian last year rose by 73 per cent, but police said increased home security saw fewer thieves getting in. A report on crimes across the county revealed that domestic housebreaking incidents had risen from 84 reported in 2017/18 to 145 last year. However it said the percentage of reports in which thieves managed to gain access to homes had fallen from 78 per cent to 59 per cent. They said overall housebreaking offences, which cover businesses and non-residential buildings, was down 24 per cent despite the sharp rise in attempts on people’s homes. A report to Midlothian Police and Fire and Rescue Board said: “Education around crime prevention and securing property appears to be improving with 41 per cent of all domestic housebreakings being attempts and 50 per cent being successful. “The previous year 78 per cent of break-ins were successful – ie entry was gained to premises.” The annual report of crimes across Midlothian also revealed what Police Scotland described as a “considerable rise” in domestic abuse incidents of nearly 20 per cent.
Warnings over Scottish Government plans to reduce short-term prison sentences
Justice groups have warned that appropriate funding and resources need to be put in place under plans to cut the use of short-term prison sentences.
The Scottish Government is proposing to restrict jail terms of less than 12 months in a bid to reduce ineffective short sentences which carry a high rate of reoffending.