15th April 2019

Perth Police HQ - by Ninian Reid via Flickr

15th April 2019

As an ex-police officer, I know crime stats don’t tell whole story – Tom Wood

There’s good news on crime rates but beware the sting in the tail, writes former Deputy Chief Constable Tom Wood. The latest published crime statistics were good news – overall crime down by an impressive 16 per cent since last year and, within that big picture, further good news that violent crime had reduced with only a tiny minority of us ever falling victim. Remarkably, recorded crime has fallen by over 40 per cent in the last ten years. Now there’s an important caveat in all this of course and that’s the fact that only reported crime can be recorded and only recorded crime counts. Police forces have long recognised the pitfalls of swallowing crime stats whole, the dark figure of unreported crime can be substantial, especially in some catagories of property crime.


Scottish police driving ‘barely legal’ patrol vehicles that are over a decade old

Police officers in Scotland are having to drive “barely legal” patrol vehicles that broke down once a day on average last year, official figures have revealed. The Scottish Police Federation claimed that one van even caught fire in recent weeks, while some vehicles aren’t water tight. Elsewhere, senior officers reported to the Scottish Government that vehicles are having to be patched up with ducktape. The force said 349 vehicles broke down on patrol last year, reports the Daily Record. This is up by 100 since 2017, with figures released last month revealing that more than 250 police cars are over a decade old.


‘Drug laws don’t work’ Experts call for radical rethink to tackle substance deaths

Three academics believe Scotland must decriminalise drug possession to get the death rate under control. Dr Iain McPhee, Dr Steve O’Rawe and Barry Sheridan, of West of Scotland University, have slammed the Scottish Government’s claims that an “ageing cohort” of users are behind the drug deaths explosion, which is likely to exceed 1000 this year for 
the first time. The team have welcomed the setting up of a task force to examine new responses to drugs after a series of articles in the Daily Record demanded a new approach. They are adamant the expert group should include voices that have never been heard before in the endless Government consultations. And they hope the conversation moves towards devolving powers to police drugs into Scottish hands, so that progressive new measures can be put in place.


Cyber kiosks: Another Police Scotland mess now fallen to MSPs to sort

Consider, just for a moment, what I could learn about you if I got my hands on your mobile phone. Say I dopple-gangered your fingerprints or retinas, or cracked your pin – what would I find?
For starters, there’s your contacts, your recent call sheet and your text messages. If you still wield an elderly Nokia, the data trail might end there. But if, like 78% of Scots, you also use your phone to access the internet, chances are your smartphone would tell me a great deal more about you than that.


Police Scotland call handlers facing pay cuts ‘could be forced to quit’

Hundreds of call handlers at Police Scotland could be forced to quit over cuts to pay and changes to working conditions, Scottish LibDems leader Willie Rennie has warned. Rennie said salary reductions have damaged staff morale and urged ministers to take action to address staff concerns in order to ensure the service retained experienced call handlers. Police Scotland has stated that a restructuring of terms and conditions was necessary following the centralisation of the force in 2013 in order to address historical anomalies and inequalities.


Shocking stats spark fury as over 20 of Scotland’s elite gun cops revealed to have criminal record

Twenty-two of Scotland’s elite gun cops have a criminal record, we can reveal. The figure is an alarming four per cent of the force’s 552 weapons specialists. The Scottish Sun On Sunday obtained the stats a year after armed officers were given a bigger role in day-to-day policing. But the revelation has sparked fury and Scottish Greens justice spokesman John Finnie demanded stricter background checks on firearms cops. He said: “Constant risk assessment must take place. “Clearly, part of this would include the suitability of any officers entrusted with weapons.”


Scots footie yobs warned ‘reckless’ missile craze could kill fan or player

Fire chiefs have blasted the growing threat of footie pyro maniacs — and warned a fan or player could be killed. Assistant chief officer Ross Haggart demanded the dangerous craze for smoke bombs and flares at games be “stamped out”. The alert by Scottish Fire and Rescue top brass comes amid a spate of missiles being tossed on to pitches at flashpoint matches — including the Glasgow and Edinburgh derbies. Scottish Police Federation vice chair David Hamilton said: “Pyrotechnics were deliberately thrown at officers on the way to the ground. Someone is going to get seriously hurt.”



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