Justice and Safety

The week in Review

November 24, 2017 by No Comments | Category Round-up

Cashback for Communities

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson was welcomed to Hampden this week to hear about the positive impact the CashBack for Communities programme has had on young people across Scottish football.

CashBack for Communities is a Scottish Government programme that takes funds recovered from the proceeds of crime and invests them into free activities and programmes for young people across Scotland.

Mr Matheson said:

“I was pleased to visit Hampden Park to meet with the young people and coaches involved in the Scottish FA’s CashBack-funded projects.

“It was fantastic to hear real stories that show the positive impact that these activities can have on young people’s lives and I am keen to ensure that such opportunities continue to be provided in disadvantaged communities across Scotland.”

Police and Fire Service VAT

As part of his Budget Statement on Wednesday, UK Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced that Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service would become exempt from VAT.

This follows sustained lobbying from Scottish Ministers, who had urged the UK Government to end the glaring disparity which means the Scottish Police Authority is the only territorial police authority and SFRS the only fire service in the UK unable to recover VAT‎, leaving them to face £35 million of unnecessary annual costs.

However, in his response to the Budget, Finance Secretary Derek Mackay called on the UK Government to pay back the £140 million already taken from Scotland’s police and fire services.

The Scottish Government has committed to protecting the police revenue budget in real terms, delivering an additional £100 million of investment, by the end of this Parliament, as well as providing funding of £61 million this year to support on-going reform.  Also this year the Scottish Government increased the overall operational budget for the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service by £21.7 million, supporting investment in vital equipment and resources.

New measures to tackle domestic abuse

The Domestic Abuse Bill, which aims to criminalise psychological abuse and coercive control, is progressing through Parliament with the Stage 2 deliberations under way. On Tuesday (21 November), the Justice Committee considered a range of amendments to the Bill, and all Scottish Government amendments were accepted for inclusion.

Amendments include:

  • granting courts powers to prosecute where the offence is committed outside Scotland
  • making a presumption against bail in serious cases
  • ensuring the harm caused to children can be reflected in sentencing

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson, who put forward the amendments to committee, said:

“I want victims of domestic abuse to know they will be taken seriously and be supported by the justice system when it seems like they are most alone. If passed by Parliament, this legislation will deliver more effective powers to pursue perpetrators, helping us on our way to eradicate this most insidious crime from our society.”

Stage 2 deliberations are due conclude on Tuesday 12 December.

Documentary on Violence Reduction Unit

Tune in to Radio 4 this Sunday (26 November) at 5pm to hear an in-depth feature on Police Scotland’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU). Writer and broadcaster Byron Vincent spent two weeks embedded in two of VRU’s programmes, and enjoyed candid conversations with participants on everything from fear, insecurity, redemption, love, hope and how they are learning to recognise anger and deal with it in such a way that they can continue their lives free from violence.

You can also listen to The Glasgow Boys: Chaos and Calm on iPlayer Radio.

Restorative Justice Week

And finally – this week has seen an international focus on Restorative Justice Week (16-23 November). We have been working with partners across the justice sector to put together Guidance for the Delivery of Restorative Justice in Scotland, which was published earlier this year.

Follow the conversation on Twitter.

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