16th May 2018

Perth Police HQ - by Ninian Reid via Flickr

Training for police to spot domestic abuse

A charity will train 14,000 police officers to identify controlling behaviours in preparation for the introduction of the new domestic abuse act. The act, due to be implemented early in 2019, criminalises for the first time in Scotland controlling and coercive behaviours which can be a factor of domestic abuse. SafeLives, a national charity dedicated to ending domestic abuse, will begin training officers later this year. The charity said more than 130,000 people in Scotland live with domestic abuse every year, with 68 per cent of victims who access specialist support disclosing controlling behaviour, and 56 per cent physical abuse.


Chris Marshall: Scottish Police Authority fails to ask tough questions

It’s hard to think of a more maligned public body than the Scottish Police Authority. Since its creation alongside Police Scotland in 2013, the SPA has never been too far from controversy, perhaps unsurprising for an organisation set up to manage a £1.1 billion budget and hold the chief constable to account. But at times the authority has appeared to have gone out of its way to invite opprobrium (not least in this column) for a series of poor decisions. A far from exhaustive list includes deciding to hold the majority of its meetings in private (a decision it later reversed); authorising taxpayer-funded relocation expenses worth nearly £70,000 for a senior officer after she re-located from England; and awarding its much-criticised former chief executive a £57,000 golden handshake when he retired last year.


Campaign for legal drug consumption rooms backed by police

The campaign for drug consumption rooms to be legalised has been backed by police chiefs in England and Wales. Force bosses south of the border have called on the Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability, Victoria Atkins (pictured, right), to drop the Home Office’s resistance to the so-called shooting galleries, that would allow drug users to bring substances into a safe place where they could be taken in a controlled manner, with access to clean equipment and medical help. Alison Thewliss, the MP for Glasgow Central, who, along with the council and health board, has long campaigned for the Home Office to allow the city to open a safer drugs consumption facility (SDCF), welcomed the police boss’s intervention.


Defibrillator will save lives in Falkirk, 24 hours a day

When you’re getting ready for a big night out, not coming home safely probably never crosses your mind. Thankfully, in Falkirk, there’s a team of people whose sole purpose is to ensure that revellers get home, safe and sound. And the partners, led by the Falkirk BID team, have now joined forces to add another life-saving piece of equipment to their already impressive arsenal. Specialized Security, which operates the town’s very successful taxi marshall scheme every weekend and the Friends of Forth Valley First Responders, which supports the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) locally, have sponsored an automated external defibrillator (AED).


One step closer to Orkney-based Drugs Dog

Orkney is one step closer to having a drugs dog based in the county, with a development officer having been appointed and office space at Kirkwall Fire Station having been given. The charity trying to get the dog based in the county is the Orkney Drugs Dog (ODD) group. A recent contract for commissioning of services by the Orkney Alcohol and Drugs Partnership (ADP), has seen Fiona Dalziel take up the post of Development Officer with ODD and she will now help the project move ahead. The Scottish Fire & Rescue Service have also agreed to provide office accommodation for the dog and handler to work from at Kirkwall Fire station. The chairman of ODD Andrew Drever said, with the next steps being to find a dog and handler and make sure both are trained in their roles, it is hoped that there will be a drugs dog available here in Orkney by this autumn. The ODD chairman, who is also a local councillor, said: “We are grateful to the Orkney Alcohol and Drugs Partnership for their support at this crucial point in our project. Our members are looking forward to working with Fiona and to moving the project to the next stage of appointing a handler and to finding a suitable drugs dog.”


Police facial recognition software was wrong 90% of the time

I witnessed the Metropolitan Police use automated facial recognition at Notting Hill Carnival previous year, and while watching for only five minutes I saw the system wrongly identify two innocent women walking down the street as men on the police’s “watch-list”. Computers still aren’t very good at recognising faces, according to research, which says that police use of facial recognition software is a massive waste of money and effort, and routinely results in randoms being plucked out of photographic databases. Computer databases of faces are linked to CCTV and other cameras and many see facial recognition as a positive advancement in terms of law enforcement, while privacy advocates have concerns around the technology being implemented. Big Brother Watch, through Freedom of Information requests, revealed 98 per cent of the Metropolitan Police ” s “matches’ were wrong and in South Wales Police the figure was 91 per cent.


SafeLives charity will train 14,000 police officers to identify controlling behaviour

National charity SafeLives has been appointed to train 14,000 Police Scotland officers in identifying controlling behaviours to support the introduction of the new Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act. Controlling and coercive behaviours are a significant factor of domestic abuse.  The new Act, due for implementation in early 2019, criminalises these controlling behaviours for the first time in Scotland.  Assistant Chief Constable Gillian MacDonald, Crime and Protection, Police Scotland, said, “While physical assaults are the most visible part of domestic abuse, survivors have told us that it can be more difficult to cope with the punishing psychological abuse. This new Act recognises, for the first time, the harm psychological abuse causes to victims and their children and the complex way in which perpetrators seek to manipulate not only their victims but also the police response.


Stalking victims to receive better protection after MSP proposes new law

Stalking victims would be given greater protection from the “incredibly serious crime” under a new law launched by an MSP. Mairi Gougeon is bringing forward a member’s Bill that would, if passed, introduce new stalking protection orders. Currently, people can go to the civil courts to have a non-harrassment order taken out against a stalker.


SNP boats of low crime – as gangsters run amok on streets

The former head of the “Scottish FBI” has condemned the SNP over its repeated claims that recorded crime is at an historic low. Former Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency director Graeme Pearson said rising gangland violence meant the Nationalists’ assessment of decreasing crime levels could not be trusted.



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