Justice and Safety
Response to Justice Committee report on Bill to repeal OBFTC Act
Minister for Community Safety Annabelle Ewing has responded to the stage 1 report on report on the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Repeal) (Scotland) Bill.
She said:“The vast majority of football supporters are well-behaved and the Act is a clear statement that no section of society is exempt from standards and behaviours that are considered acceptable. A YouGov poll commissioned by the Scottish Government found that 82% of respondents agreed that sectarian singing or chanting at football matches is offensive and 83% supported laws to tackle offensive behaviour at and around football matches while 80% directly supported the 2012 Act.
“The evidence in this report clearly shows that a range of organisations have highlighted real concerns to MSPs about depriving our law enforcement agencies of this legislation completely without putting a viable alternative in place.
“We share those manifest concerns that repeal will send entirely the wrong message, leaving vulnerable communities feeling exposed to abuse and prejudice and putting Scotland behind the rest of the UK in terms of protection from incitement to religious hatred, currently provided by Section 6.
“Singing songs about terrorism, mocking incidents involving loss of life and being hateful towards some of our most vulnerable communities with no regard for the impact of their wilful behaviours is not acceptable in a modern Scotland.”
The YouGov poll surveyed 1,044 Scottish adults during June 2015.