11th April 2018

Perth Police HQ - by Ninian Reid via Flickr

Crime and punishment: keeping the focus on prevention 

On April Fools’ Day, Police Scotland and its overseeing body, the Scottish Police Authority (SPA), celebrated their fifth anniversary, but the journey has been no joke for the Scottish Government. Both bodies have been beset by problems since the flagship policing reform of 2013. In fact the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee celebrated the anniversary by announcing a review of the 2012 Police and Fire Reform Act that created Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service from eight regional services, as well as the SPA, Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS). Speaking as the inquiry launched, Justice Committee convener Margaret Mitchell said: “The last five years have been a period of unprecedented change in our fire and police services.


Chief constables warn of ‘chill effect’ making frontline officers hesitant over stop and search

Policing leaders want greater targeted use of stop and search to break out from an over-simplification of the solution to the fight against weapons and drugs. The National Police Chiefs’ Council chair Sara Thornton claims that while the powers have been used too freely in the past the pendulum has now swung too far the other way.
Ms Thornton has spoken out after chief constables told her that officers are “feeling hesitant” over stop and search – down to a “chill effect where they feel overly cautious about using a power that has been subject to so much political, and often polarised, debate”. But National Black Police Association president Tola Munro argued that the tactic cannot resolve the issue on its own – nor stop young people from areas not associated with knife crime or violence carrying weapons to protect themselves.


Former cop chief says ‘money flushed down toilet’ in policing Old Firm games

A former police chief in Scotland has said money is flushed down the toilet when policing Old Firm games. Les Gray, a former chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, has also warned football authorities about having another so-called shame game as clubs wait the post-split fixtures. The ex-cop was speaking on BBC Sportsound last night about the prospect of having the first game after the split being Celtic vs Rangers

The Parkhead side need just two points to secure the title, therefore a victory against their fiercest rivals could lead to a higher than usual atmosphere inside and outside the ground. Les was wary of having a repeat of the ‘shame game’ in 1999 which saw Rangers triumph over Celtic in the East End of Glasgow.


Police boss flags response to Bailey Gwynne murder as one to follow

The head of Police Scotland’s violence reduction unit has revealed what he believes MPs must do to tackle serious crime. Will Linden, acting director of the violence reduction unit (VRU), said early intervention was key – pointing to the lessons learned from the tragic death of Aberdeen schoolboy Bailey Gwynne. His comments came as UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and London Mayor Sadiq Khan each hosted meetings on violent crime – just the day after the UK Government launched a fresh strategy to tackle serious crime. Scotland’s VRU has been praised for the way it deals with violent crime, and during Mr Corbyn’s meeting, co-founder John Carnochan was among the experts to share his ideas on tackling the problem nationally.


‘No evidence’ police officers played role in man’s death in 1997

Detectives investigating the death of man more than 20 years ago have said there is no evidence police officers were involved. The body of Kevin Mcleod, 24, was recovered from Wick harbour on February 9, 1997 after a night out with friends. Last year Police Scotland made an “unreserved apology” for “serious failings” in the initial investigation by Northern Constabulary, saying early opportunities to gather vital evidence were missed. Detectives who are re-examining the case have spoken three times to a potential new witness who came forward earlier this year claiming he saw two police officers stand watching Mr Mcleod struggle in the water on the night he died.



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