1st Feb 2018

Perth Police HQ - by Ninian Reid via Flickr

Tom Peterkin: Police Scotland’s problems are bigger than the SNP

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson had just sat down in the Holyrood chamber after defending himself against the clamour of calls for his resignation over his handling of various policing controversies. Moments later an email dropped in the inboxes of journalists. From the office of the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) it announced that a fifth – yes, a fifth – complaint concerning allegations of gross misconduct had been lodged against the chief constable, Phil Gormley.


Anger at Scotland’s failure to publish undercover policing review

An activist who believes he was targeted by a notorious surveillance officer has expressed his “extreme frustration” at the Scottish Government’s failure to publish a review of undercover policing. Jason Kirkpatrick claims he was spied on by former Metropolitan Police officer Mark Kennedy during anti-globalisation protests in Scotland at the time of the G8 summit at Gleneagles in 2005. Mr Kirkpatrick has joined the criticism of justice secretary Michael Matheson who is yet to publish a review of undercover policing despite being given the report by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMICS) on 2 November. The review was established after then Home Secretary Theresa May refused to extend a judicial inquiry to cover Scotland.


Outrage as police claim Stirling has ‘no real homeless beggars’ and those who do beg ‘have £500 iPhones’

Police have been blasted for claiming a Scots city has NO homeless beggars – and those that do ask for loose change are conmen with “£500 iPhones”.  Officers in Stirling wrote an extraordinary memo to a community council that branded every person begging in the city a fraudster.  The report refers to “cleaning up” the city centre by removing rough sleepers and beggars – several of whom were arrested and remanded in prison for vagrancy.  It says Stirling beggars are making hundreds of pounds a week and spending it on drugs, alcohol and £500 iPhones.



Finance Secretary Derek Mackay got his budget approved – but at a price

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay got his budget approved yesterday — at a price. Before Christmas, Mr Mackay said he would use Holyrood’s tax powers for the first time, raising an additional £164million for investment in public services.  MSPs backed the budget thanks to support from the Greens, but the price was an extra £159million for local authorities and an extra £10million for ferry services in the Northern Isles.  Put another way, Mr Mackay spent all his extra tax money — and a bit more — to buy the votes he needed to get his budget through.



Justice secretary says: ‘Domestic abuse is an everyday horror we simply will not ignore’

Landmark legislation to criminalise all forms of domestic abuse — including psychological harm — is expected to pass its final Holyrood hurdle on Thursday. The Domestic Abuse Bill will target thugs who inflict mental cruelty on their partners and those who “coercively control” others.  Here Justice Secretary Michael Matheson explains why he believes the Bill is an important next step in the fight against domestic abuse…


Police duty calls remain static under new rules as custodies fall

Despite widespread protests from solicitors across the country, new legislation that gives everyone taken in for police questioning the right to legal advice has not resulted in a dramatic increase in police station visits for duty solicitors.

According to the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) its Solicitor Contact Line – the first port of call for anyone who does not have their own solicitor to turn to – received a total of 24 requests for solicitor attendances in the first five days of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act going live.


Five years on, police chief admits single force’s failures

Scotland’s acting Chief Constable had admitted officials ‘could have done things better’ in the controversial merger of the country’s police forces. Iain Livingstone has hit out at the ‘compressed time frame’ officials were given for establishing Police Scotland, when the eight regional forces became one national body.



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