Justice and Safety
The week in review
This week’s round-up includes activity to tackle serious organised crime, a Parliamentary debate on the use of remand in Scotland, and an update on local and national preparations ahead of Bonfire Night including information and advice for those attending the November 5th celebrations to stay safe.
Honouring fallen police officers
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf travelled to Belfast on Sunday to attend the National Police Memorial Day service, where tributes were paid to officers from across the UK who have died in the line of duty.
Mr Yousaf said: “Those police officers recognised today are a credit to our services. It’s vital we continue to remember them and offer our support to their families and colleagues. I am reminded daily of how often our police officers go above and beyond. Our officers are a hugely dedicated and professional workforce who work for the safety and wellbeing of communities across the country, and I am deeply grateful for the job they do in order to keep us safe.”
Chair Andrea MacDonald, NPMD organiser David Wilbraham, @CC_Livingstone and @HumzaYousaf at the National Police Memorial Day Service today. We will remember our fallen colleagues #LestWeForget #NPMD18 pic.twitter.com/No4PkqXW6a
— ScotsPolFed (@ScotsPolFed) September 30, 2018
‘Public key to preventing organised crime’
On Monday the Justice Secretary called on communities to work together, and with local agencies, to frustrate the work of criminal gangs. Mr Yousaf was speaking after chairing his first meeting of the Serious Organised Crime Taskforce (SOCT) at the Scottish Crime Campus, Gartcosh. You can read more on the main Scottish Government website.
“Our most important asset in the fight against serious organised crime is the community itself”, Cab Sec for Justice @HumzaYousaf speaking earlier today after his first @SOCTaskforce meeting@policescotland @theBSCprogramme @hmics @COPFS
— ScotGov Justice (@ScotGovJustice) October 1, 2018
Tackling criminals’ trading of fake goods
Later in the week the Justice Secretary joined members of the Scottish Anti-Illicit Trade Group (SAITG) as they formally recognised the efforts of two companies in helping tackle the trade in fake goods. Royal Mail has been instrumental in assisting HM Revenue & Customs to identify the trade of millions of illicit cigarettes in Scotland, while staff training by Vue Cinema helped them to assist with the conviction of a man caught filming T2 Trainspotting at their Glasgow Fort cinema earlier this year.
The Justice Secretary said: “I very much welcome the contribution that the Scottish Anti-Illicit Trade Group makes to the implementation of Scotland’s serious organised crime strategy and congratulate both recipients on today’s awards.”
Read more from the Scottish Business Resilience Centre news release.
Huge congratulations to @RoyalMail and @vuecinemas who were presented awards today by Scotland's Justice Secretary @HumzaYousaf MSP in recognition by the @SCOTTISHAITG for their outstanding efforts against the trade of fakes goods #buyreal pic.twitter.com/lp4yuzt2tG
— SBRC (@SBRC_Scotland) October 4, 2018
MSPs debate remand system
Minister for Community Safety Ash Denham led the Government’s response to a Parliamentary debate on Wednesday focused on the Justice Committee’s recent report into the use of remand. Ms Denham also urged caution around comparing different months to try to contrast numbers between different years – in particular where numbers often fall in December ahead of Christmas.
She said: “Between 2008-09 and 2017-18, the total remand population fell by 19% from 1,679 to 1,361. The truth is that the average remand population, which is by far the best way to assess levels of remand, has gone down in each of the last three years – from 1,525 in 2015/16 to 1,361 in 2017/18. Despite this I accept the overall conclusion of the Justice Committee that the proportion of remand prisoners compared to the total prison population continues to be high, especially in relation to female prisoners.”
The Minister told MSPs that revised national guidance on bail supervision schemes would be issued to councils, while the Scottish government would also explore with local government the possibility of providing funding to increase the uptake of supervised bail and support to ensure that services can be accessed across the country. You can read the debate Official Report on the Scottish Parliament website or watch proceedings on the video below.
Meeting with family of Sheku Bayou
Also on Wednesday the Justice Secretary met the family of Sheku Bayoh and their representatives who advised him the current status of the Crown investigation into Mr Bayoh’s death. Mr Yousaf’s statement following the meeting can be read on Twitter, here.
My thanks to Sheku Bayoh's family for meeting with me on what must have been an incredibly difficult day for them. They have shown enormous courage & dignity in the face of the most challenging circumstances.
My full statement following our discussions: pic.twitter.com/YjhrwjNKEt
— Humza Yousaf (@HumzaYousaf) October 3, 2018
Preparing for Bonfire night celebrations
The Community Safety Minister was in Pilton, Edinburgh on Friday, where she met local council, police and fire service representatives to hear about on-going work to prepare for Bonfire Night and associated activity in the days and weeks running up to November 5th. The Minister encouraged people to attend organised fireworks displays to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable Bonfire Night. And she said robust action would be taken against anyone who puts lives in danger through the misuse of fireworks. This follows a number of incidents last year where police officers and fire crew members were injured by fireworks. Read more on the main Scottish Government website, which includes links to further information and advice.
Sixty people from the emergency and voluntary sectors, as well as members of the public, were presented with Brave@Heart Awards this week, recognising acts of bravery and heroism. The awards were presented by the First Minister at a special event held at Edinburgh Castle.
FM @NicolaSturgeon tonight hosted the Brave@heart awards at Edinburgh Castle, to recognise and celebrate acts of bravery by staff of the blue-light services, volunteering sector rescue organisations and members of the public. pic.twitter.com/REBewbDZCe
— First Minister (@ScotGovFM) October 2, 2018