04 Mar 4th March 2019
Hundreds of vulnerable looked-after children going missing from care
Since 2016, Police Scotland and the missing persons register have been alerted about 218 looked-after children in Fife, 93 in Dundee, 70 in Perth and Kinross, and 20 in Angus. A Courier investigation revealed all 409 youngsters returned home, a statistic described as a “mercy”. When a looked-after child goes missing, the missing person’s register is notified and an immediate alert sent to Police Scotland. The circumstances of each child determine further action, such as an immediate alert on social media for high-risk children, a police search of all known friends and family housing, and contact with family members.
Old Firm face ‘closed door’ matches threat to beat sectarianism
Tough new powers being explored to tackle sectarianism in football could see Scottish clubs being ordered to play matches behind closed doors, it has emerged. Councils could be handed new responsibilities to licence football stadiums under proposals which are being looked at by the Scottish Government, according to the Sunday Times. Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf has said “nothing is off the table” as the Scottish Government considers how to react to series of recent flashpoints in matches. Kilmarnock manager Steve Clark recently hit out at sectarian abuse he suffered during a match with Rangers, while the Ayrshire club’s striker Kris Boyd complained of abuse he endured at the hands of Celtic fans. Police are also investigating claims of offensive chanting at last week’s match between Hearts and Celtic at Tynecastle.
Football sectarianism is in last chance saloon, warns expert
Sectarianism in Scotland is in the “last chance saloon” an expert has warned as proposals were floated to give councils powers to suspend football club licences if fans misbehave.
Duncan Morrow, who is based at Ulster University, said that a more aggressive tone of sectarianism had plagued Scotland since he led a panel that examined the issue in 2015.
The warning comes as ministers consider proposals that could shut grounds for weeks if public order is lost.
Controversial plan to merge British Transport Police and Police Scotland halted in its tracks
Officers and staff in Scotland were told on Friday they will remain employees of BTP and there will be “no significant structural changes”. The leader of rail trade union the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) has said the letter to workers is the first formal statement that “plans to break up BTP have been dropped”. However, Manuel Cortes slammed the Scottish Government for spending more than four years trying to force through the merger, which was criticised as unnecessary and politically motivated. Mr Cortes said many took early retirement because they feared they would be disadvantaged when Police Scotland took over railway policing in Scotland. He said: “The Scottish Government’s ill-conceived vanity project caused our members untold stress and anxiety over the last four years. It caused experienced officers and staff to retire early to avoid the merger with Police Scotland.”
Critics question Police Scotland review of undercover chaos and mismanagement
Independent watchdogs should be investigating the incineration of classified files and documents from an undercover unit exposed as chaotic and possibly criminal, according to a former head of the Scottish Crime and Drugs Enforcement Agency (SCDEA). The alleged cover-up at the now-defunct agency, once billed as Scotland’s FBI, is being “reviewed” by Police Scotland but Graeme Pearson, first head of the SCDEA, said the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) should be leading the inquiry. Meanwhile, an MSP has also questioned the national force’s involvement in investigating the claims and said the officer charged with leading it should be replaced because of her history in undercover policing.
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