Custody cutbacks ‘raising risk of attacks on police’
People detained by police are routinely having their human rights violated and officers are increasingly at risk of assaults because of cuts to the number of custody centres, officers have claimed. In damning evidence to MSPs, the union representing rank and file officers said the budget-driven reductions meant people were suffering the stress of being kept in handcuffs and cages for long periods of time. The Scottish Police Federation (SPF) said that “as a direct consequence of diminished funding” the officers involved were under “intolerable pressures”.
Scottish Police Federation issue warning on pay cap
Police officers will consider it an “act of unforgivable betrayal” if they do not benefit from a lifting of the public sector pay cap, it has been warned. The Scottish Police Federation (SPF) said its members risk being forgotten in public sector pay awards due to the pressure on the police budget. In September, Police Scotland warned it could be forced to dramatically reduce officer numbers to meet the “significant cost pressure” associated with scrapping the pay cap. Ahead of a meeting of the Scottish Parliament’s justice sub-committee on policing, SPF general secretary Calum Steele said the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) had “little room for manoeuvre” on the issue of wages.
Firefighters targeted in ‘completely unacceptable’ Guy Fawkes Night attacks
Fire chiefs have condemned people who threw missiles and fireworks at firefighters as they responded to calls on Guy Fawkes Night. Crews responded to around 330 incidents involving bonfires between 5pm and 10pm on November 5, while control rooms dealt with more than 800 calls about them. However firefighters had missiles and fireworks thrown at them at 11 of the incidents as they worked to keep people safe. Assistant Chief Officer (ACO) Lewis Ramsay, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) director of response and resilience, said they would work to track down the culprits and pass the information to police. He said: “Attacks on emergency responders are completely unacceptable and I am sure the public would be outraged by incidents where their firefighters have been targeted while working to protect people and property.
Call for independent inquiry into deaths in custody
A call has been made for an independent inquiry into the deaths of people in police custody. Scottish Labour Justice spokeswoman Claire Baker has asked First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to consider the move following a review in England and Wales. Carried out by Scotland’s former Lord Advocate Dame Elish Angiolini, it has demanded sweeping reforms to the police and justice system south of the Border. In Scotland, the family of Sheku Bayoh are still awaiting answers. The 31-year-old died in 2015 after being restrained by police in Kirkcaldy, Fife.
Calls made for independent inquiry into police custody deaths
A call has been made for an independent inquiry into the deaths of people in police custody. Scottish Labour Justice spokeswoman Claire Baker has written to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon calling for the investigation. It follows a similar move in England and Wales by Dame Elish Angiolini QC, which has demanded sweeping reforms to the police and justice system south of the border. In Scotland, the family of Sheku Bayoh are still awaiting answers after his death in custody in 2015.
Scots urged to prepare for emergencies in government campaign
The Deputy First Minister has urged people across Scotland to prepare for emergencies including severe weather, travel problems and online safety. John Swinney spoke ahead of the Scottish Government’s annual Resilience Week, which brings together the Government, emergency services and other agencies to raise awareness of how to plan ahead for a range of threats. Each day of the campaign running from Monday to Friday will focus on a different aspect, including preparing homes for flooding, developing plans for severe weather and tackling cyber safety.
Fewer than one third of fixed cameras actively catching speeding drivers in Scotland
Fewer than one third of fixed speed cameras in Scotland are actually switched on and catching offenders, new figures reveal. Of the 173 devices monitoring drivers on the country’s roads only 50 (29 per cent) are active. Data released by 36 of the 45 police forces across the UK found that four – Cleveland, Durham, North Yorkshire and Northampton – have no fixed speed cameras recording at all and 13 have fewer than half actively catching speeding drivers. The figures cover all police fixed speed cameras, but not the mobile devices forces also use.
Police Scotland Chief Constable Phil Gormley faces probe over claims he gave MSPs false details
Under-fire police chief Phil Gormley has been accused of giving inaccurate information to a Holyrood committee. The troubled Police Scotland Chief Constable – who is on leave while watchdogs investigate four bullying claims – was contacted by the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Sub-Committee earlier this year. But a former officer has claimed Gormley gave committee convenor Mary Fee false information when asked about the force’s controversial Professional Standards Department (PSD) and how whistleblowers’ complaints were handled. Ex-constable Karen Harper alleges she was victimised by colleagues who set up an internal investigation to discredit her after she raised a grievance against a line manager. She has lodged misconduct allegations against 12 officers.
Pressure mounts on Police Scotland as leading MSPs demand release of secret dossier on unlawful spying op
The head of Holyrood’s influential justice committee has demanded the release of a secret report on an unlawful police spying operation. Retired murder squad detective David Moran was wrongly targeted in a Police Scotland internal affairs unit bid to identify Sunday Mail sources. But he has been refused a copy of a report on the investigation into the Counter Corruption Unit’s action, which clears his name. His demand for the report to be made public has been backed by Holyrood’s justice committee convener Margaret Mitchell. She said: “Police Scotland have already admitted they are at fault in this instance, so it is puzzling why they are refusing to publish this report.
Jails in Scotland less violent than in England and Wales, figures show
Scottish prisons are significantly less violent than jails in England and Wales, with lower rates of inmate aggression, according to statistics released by the Scottish parliament. Figures compiled by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre revealed that last year there were 73% fewer outbreaks of violence in Scottish jails than in prisons in England and Wales. For every 1,000 inmates in England and Wales, there were 32 recorded prisoner-on-prisoner attacks and nine directed against prison staff.