Justice and Safety

The week in review

December 15, 2017 by No Comments | Category Round-up

This week’s round-up includes some of the justice elements of the Scottish Government’s 2018-19 draft Budget announcement, a service to remember missing loved-ones and an international conference on policing hosted in Scotland.

Investing in Justice and safety

On Wednesday Cabinet Secretary for Finance & the Constitution Derek Mackay set out the Scottish Government’s draft budget for 2018-19.

Mr Mackay said the Government would ensure that both Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service would retain the full benefit of having the ability to recover VAT – boosting their spending power by £35 million in the next year – on top of extra revenue funding.

The Finance Secretary said the budget would also secure “investment in key measures to make our communities safer, including tackling domestic abuse, reducing re-offending, protecting witnesses, and modernising the justice system”.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: “The 2017-18 Programme for Government outlined our immediate legislative and policy priorities for achieving our ambition, underpinned by continued investment in modern, responsive justice agencies and other public services”.

  • Read Mr Matheson’s full comment from budget day here.

Click on the video or visit the budget section of the main Scottish Government website to find out more about the 2018-19 draft budget announcement.


Remembering missing loved ones at Christmas

Minister for Community Safety Annabelle Ewing attended the Missing People Carol Service at St Andrew’s & Saint George’s West Church, Edinburgh, this week, in support of those affected by missing a loved one.

The carol service was the second to be organised by the Missing People charity, which aims to support the families and friends of missing people in Scotland.

These services give people the opportunity to come together to show their support for each other and provide hope to those who are missing someone.

The service included a reading from Ms Ewing and from families and friends affected, as well as musical performances from families and supporters of the charity.

Ms Ewing said the service highlighted both the support available through the charity and the fact that people continue to go missing in Scotland on a daily basis.

Armed Policing

Papers for next week’s Scottish Police Authority board were published on Thursday, including proposals from Police Scotland to increase the access for officers to TASER – equipping around 500 specially-trained officers in local policing divisions.

Police Scotland, which explained that the move is designed to improve the safety of the public and police officers, will also extend the role of Armed Response Vehicle (ARV) officers to allow them to be deployed to more non-firearms calls.

Commenting on the plans, the Justice Secretary said: “Police Scotland have shown incredible dedication and professionalism in the way they have stepped up in response to the terror attacks in the UK by ensuring armed officers provided a visible presence to reassure the public. Much has changed since the current model was developed with the increased terror threat and changes to criminal activity.

“Any change to the deployment model is an operational decision for the Chief Constable, it is one that I support, subject to the detailed assurances they will give the Scottish Police Authority in the coming days. The new model will allow highly trained officers to make a valuable contribution to local policing in their communities, with a focus on vulnerability and speed of response.”

Tackling violence against women

On Monday the Justice Secretary marked the end of the international 16 Days of Action to end violence against women by emphasising that work continues 365 days a year to try to eradicate what he described as “some of the most insidious crimes from our society”.

Writing in the Daily Record, Mr Matheson outlined some of the actions the Scottish Government has taken to tackle such abuse in all its forms, including introducing a new criminal offence of sharing intimate images without consent – so-called ‘revenge porn’.

Mr Matheson referred to research he had commissioned to explore the range of factors behind increases in the incidence of sexual crimes over recent years.

The Justice Secretary also underlined the importance of the Domestic Abuse Bill, currently proceeding through Parliament, which will give police and prosecutors greater powers to tackle coervice and controlling behavior.

Read the full article on the Daily Record website.

Legal advice in police custody

The Justice Committee this week passed regulations to ensure that legal aid continues to be available following commencement of part 1 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2016.

Part 1 of the Act will deliver key changes to police custody processes, including giving any person in custody a statutory right to a private consultation with a solicitor at any time.

These regulations ensure this consultation is provided free to everyone in police custody and to reflect the additional considerations that may arise when dealing with a person considered vulnerable, solicitors will be paid a higher rate for such consultations.

Annabelle Ewing, Minister for Community Safety & Legal Affairs, said: “The regulations passed by the Scottish Parliament will lead to an enhanced fee package for solicitors who provide police station advice far greater than that currently in place. The scheme, underpinned by the Scottish Legal Aid Board, is voluntary with solicitors putting themselves forward to provide advice for those who are held in police stations. It is essential that no individual is denied access to their rights to legal advice.”

International policing conference

The Justice Secretary opened the 2017 Scottish International Policing Conference with a speech highlighting the strength of Scotland’s police service.

Delegates from the rest of the UK as well Belgium, Norway and Switzerland, attended the event at the University of Edinburgh, along with Scottish Police Authority Chair Susan Deacon, the Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone, and Dr Victoria Herrington from the Australian Institute of Police Management.

Mr Matheson said: “I am absolutely confident in the professionalism and dedication of the many thousands of police officers and staff who provide essential leadership in communities across the country. Their efforts have been critical to delivering the safer society that we all now enjoy.

“In Policing 2026 we have a strategy which will ensure Scotland continues to benefit from a modern, responsive and sustainable police service. The strategy also confirms that policing plays a core role in promoting the wider wellbeing of our communities, including supporting the most vulnerable people in our society.”

Some of the key themes of the day included values and ethics, and staff health and wellbeing.

Find out more about the conference themes via the #SIPRconf hashtag on Twitter.

And finally…

Earlier in the week Mr Matheson welcomed Police Scotland’s achievement in receiving an important accolade in working with volunteers.

Scotland’s national police service is the first in the UK to be awarded the ‘Investing in Volunteers’ award.

The accolade, which was presented to the force by Volunteer Scotland, recognises Police Scotland’s efforts to strengthen its relationship with young people and provide them with essential support and guidance.

The Justice Secretary said: “I am delighted that the delivery of Police Scotland Youth Volunteers (PSYV) has been recognised for its professionalism and the way it works with, and values all of its volunteers.

“All those who lead the programme encourage a spirit of adventure and good citizenship, inspiring Scotland’s young people to participate positively in their communities.”

Assistant Chief Constable John Hawkins, said: “Police Scotland is delighted to receive this award, which recognises the work involved in running PSYV. The award also recognises the worth of the scheme by PSYV volunteers themselves and what they get from it. It offers a fantastic variety of opportunities to the young people involved.”

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