Justice and Safety
A welcome from the Cabinet Secretary for Justice
It comes at an opportune time – almost six months since I was appointed Justice Secretary – and gives me the chance to provide some initial reflections on the opportunities and challenges we face.
The important work undertaken across the justice sector impacts directly on every single person in Scotland every single day, with – as the name of this blog highlights – justice and safety the underpinning principles.
I have identified two immediate priorities.
I want to work closely with the Scottish Police Authority and Police Scotland to ensure policing continues to perform excellently while delivering the full benefits of reform. We’ve already made some encouraging early progress on high-profile issues like stop and search and armed policing.
I also want to improve prisons in Scotland and how we deal with offenders. I recently announced the cancellation of the proposed women’s prison in Inverclyde and consultation on smaller regional and community-based custodial facilities. We need to be bolder and more ambitious here.
These were some of the issues discussed at the recent Justice Leaders Network meeting.
Paul Wheelhouse, the Minister for Community Safety, and I were invited to attend the event, and were provided the opportunity to discuss our impressions of the Justice portfolio to date and share our ambitions for justice in Scotland.
I emphasised that poor leadership will undermine what we want to do. Change won’t happen unless we’ve got good leaders, working in a collaborative way, and recognising we all have a shared interest in delivering the best possible justice system we can deliver.
The event also allowed the justice leaders to consider the collaborative work being done across the justice sector to address key priorities such as our approach to Serious and Organised Crime and Domestic Abuse and Sexual Offending.
I look forward to seeing good work and genuine progress highlighted here on this blog.