Justice and Safety
The week in review
This week marks the fifth anniversary of the creation of Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. With the anniversary itself on Sunday (April 1), look out for plenty of activity on Twitter and Facebook as well as police and fire partners as we mark five years of improvement. The anniversary hasn’t been the only thing on our minds, however.
Scots feeling safer than ever as crime falls
The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2016-17 was published this week. The now annual publication – this year based on interviews with almost 5,600 adults about their experience of crime, whether or not reported to police – estimated that property crime is down 34% and violence down 27% over the same period.
Other key findings confirmed that overall crime in Scotland has fallen by around a third in just under a decade and that more people than ever feel safe in their neighbourhood. Responding to the survey, Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said:
“Scotland’s firm focus on prevention, responsive policing and local partnerships to help individuals and communities keep themselves safe has had a positive impact on long-term crime trends and people’s feeling of safety, with recorded crime at a 43-year low.
“While this progress is cause for encouragement, it will never be an excuse for complacency. As well as continued government investment in policing and funding partners such as Neighbourhood Watch Scotland, Crimestoppers and the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit, I have commissioned further research into those areas where violence persists.”
Read more on the main Scottish Government website.
Most adults (86.6%) experienced no crime in 2016/17. The #SCJS estimates that the proportion of adults experiencing crime has fallen from around 1-in-5 in 2008/09 to fewer than 1-in-7 last year. pic.twitter.com/paTs7VJaZJ
— ScotGov Justice (@ScotGovJustice) March 27, 2018
Sauchiehall Street fire
Frontline firefighters have been praised by Community Safety Minister Annabelle Ewing for their tireless efforts to bring the recent significant fire in Glasgow city centre under control. At the incident’s height, more than 120 firefighters attended Sauchiehall Street after the alarm was raised on the morning of Thursday, March 22.
Crews worked through challenging and dangerous conditions to contain and extinguish the fire, which had taken hold within a block of commercial properties. While a number of buildings were damaged during the incident, the efforts of SFRS crews protected surrounding historic buildings.
Ms Ewing said: “I want to thank firefighters on behalf of the people of Glasgow and on behalf of the people of Scotland – their professionalism and heroism knows no bounds. “Firefighters were presented with one of the biggest incidents the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has ever faced and they managed to contain this blaze under very challenging and complex circumstances.”
Adverse Childhood Experiences
Deputy First Minister John Swinney hosted an event bringing together a number of government ministers, including the First Minister, and Cabinet Secretaries for Justice and for Health, with professionals working to tackle Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).
There are ten recognised ACEs – traumatic experiences that can have a profound effect on a child’s developing brain and body with lasting effects, categorised into three broad types – abuse, neglect and household dysfunction. The latter type of ACE includes having an incarcerated relative, a mother treated violently, substance misuse and mental illness in the household.
As outlined in Scotland’s Justice ‘Vision & Priorities’ strategy, there is an increasing understanding about the relationship between ACEs and future offending and imprisonment.
More than 80 experts working across Scotland in all of the main sectors affected by ACEs took part in the discussions aimed at understanding what is already working well, highlighting where further action is needed and exploring opportunities for collaboration to drive progress.
Yesterday the Deputy First Minister @johnswinney hosted an event for Government Ministers and key stakeholders to discuss how we tackle adverse childhood experiences in Scotland. Watch the video below for more info #ScotlandACEs pic.twitter.com/DPfvI0Kq1o
— Engage for Education (@engagefored) March 27, 2018
Cashback for Communities
The Justice Secretary celebrated Prince’s Trust Scotland Development Awards in Glasgow this week – hearing first-hand how the scheme is benefiting young people, having previously received a similar grant award himself as a young person.
The Development Awards, supported by Scottish Government CashBack for Communities fund, are facilitated by Prince’s Trust Scotland to help disadvantaged young people aged 13-24 who are unable to access education, employment or training opportunities because of financial barriers which hold them back.
Mr Matheson said it was a privilege to meet young people and hear from them about the positive impact the awards can have. He said: “Thirty years ago, I was awarded a £500 grant award to help me buy equipment to participate in an international event, which helped me develop transferable skills.
“The funds from the CashBack programme need to be focussed on helping young people in Scotland’s most deprived communities to provide them with a platform to develop their skills. The Scottish Government is determined to ensure CashBack is carried forward in the years ahead and I look forward to watching young people and entrepreneurs make their mark.”
New figures have provided information on drug seizures made by the police in Scotland and the characteristics of those found in possession of drugs. The main Class A drugs seized by Police Scotland in 2016-17 were heroin (54.1 kilograms), cocaine (120.3 kilograms) and crack cocaine (5.2 kilograms). In addition Police Scotland also seized 8,600 ecstasy-type tablets.
The Scottish Government is reviewing its current drugs strategy, recognising that the patterns of drug taking and their challenges have changed since it was first published in 2008. A new strategy is due to be published in the summer.
Drug enforcement, including seizures, remains a key part of Police Scotland activity, supported by the Scottish Government’s commitment to protecting the police resource budget in every year of this Parliament – a boost of £100 million by 2021.