Scrap the Act

Today my colleague James Kelly MSP launched a consultation into scrapping the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act with the intention of introducing a private members’ bill.

The act, the first in Holyrood to be passed without any cross-party support, has been controversial since its inception and was opposed by clubs, fans, legal experts and academics.

While we can all share the frustration at the progress made in eradicating sectarianism  in Scotland, these problems cannot be fixed in 90 minutes at a game of football.  We must see greater effort to tackle sectarianism in our schools and communities, and address the root causes of these attitudes and behaviours.

The consultation is now open and I would encourage everyone to take part.   You can read the consultation documents and submit a response here:

Claire asks FMQ on support for rape victims

This week a study emerged from Glasgow Caledonian University looking into the treatment of victims of rape in the aftermath of attacks.

According to the report, too many victims have to wait over 24 hours to be examined, with the examinations predominantly carried out by male specialists. Police officers have described the treatment of some victims as “despicable” and “horrendous.”

I raised the issue during First Minister’s Questions today. You can watch my question and the First Minister’s response in the video below.

Sheku’s family meet Pirc

Yesterday I called for a review into deaths in police custody following the death of Sheku Bayoh. At around about the same time Sheku’s family were meeting with Pirc to discuss their investigation.

I’m delighted to see that Pirc have offered the family the opportunity to choose additional experts to be consulted in the course of the investigation. This is a positive step forward.

It is important that everyone is confident in the outcome of the investigation.

You can read the full story here.

Claire calls for review into deaths in police custody

Today in the Scottish Parliament there was a Scottish Government statement on Police Scotland following the deaths of Sheku Bayoh, Lamara Bell and John Yuill on the M9 and controversy over stop and search.

I was able to question the Justice Secretary on the upcoming reviews of Police Scotland and called for these to include reviewing deaths in police custody and the powers of Pirc (Police Investigations and Review Commissioner).

I have been working closely with the family of Sheku to get answer regarding what happened that morning. I’ve previously met with Pirc and the Lord Advocate to discuss the case.

His tragic death raised many unanswered questions and it is vital that the family are able to learn the truth about what happened that morning. Continue reading

Quad Bike Debate

Directly after First Minister’s Questions on Thursday I held a debate on the illegal and anti-social use of off-road motorcycles, particularly quad bikes and scramblers. The debate was an opportunity to make the case for action to address the problems we are seeing throughout Fife, particularly the examples I raised in Levenmouth and Kirkcaldy.

I have been campaigning for action on this issue for some time and I’m delighted that following my meeting with the Justice Minister earlier this year that he met with Police Scotland and they introduced a new police data management system.This will hopefully aid them in their attempts to tackle the issue of stolen bikes.

However, I am clear that more still needs to be done. We need to ensure that our local police have all the relevant tools in their box to deal with this problem, and we must look at what more can be done including looking at compulsory registration.

You can watch the debate on the video below, along with a copy of my motion and speech.

Continue reading

Claire meets with Minister over quad bike campaign

I have continued my campaign against anti-social behaviour on motorised scooters and quad bikes by meeting the Scottish Government to raise concerns. The meeting followed questions I raised in the Scottish Parliament and a visit to a local farmer to see the damage caused to his farm by the inappropriate use of such bikes.

I have been campaigning on the issue following a number of constituents getting in touch to highlight the inappropriate use of the vehicles in their area, particularly around Methil, Wemyss villages and Kirkcaldy.

The complaints I have received includes the riding and racing of the bikes and scooters on pavements, streets and fields. I raised the issues with the Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs during General Questions shortly before Christmas and met with the Minister in the Scottish Parliament. Continue reading

Quad Bike campaign continues with Farm Visit

Yesterday I continued my campaign against anti-social behaviour on motorised scooters and quad bikes in Methil and the Wemyss villages. I visited a farmer in East Wemyss to inspect the damage to his land caused by the use of such bikes.

Previously I have raised concerns in the Scottish Parliament after being contacted by constituents. I have seen a significant increase in the number of complaints made to me in recent weeks regarding the use of anti-social behaviour and quad bikes.

I’ve raised the issues with the Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs during General Questions shortly before Christmas (you can read about it here) and I am due to meet with the Minister next week. Continue reading

Claire raises antisocial behaviour in Fife

Yesterday I raised concerns over antisocial behaviour with quad bikes in Fife following fears raised by constituents. I raised the issue with the Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs during General Questions in the Scottish Parliament.

I called for the Government to look at strengthening fixed penalty notices to give the police more ‘tools in their box’ to deal with problems around quad bike usage. I raised the issue following concerns that anti-social behaviour on quad bikes was taking place in Fife with the bikes being used on pavements and streets.

I have seen an increase recently in the number of people contacting me about the issue of quad bikes and antisocial behaviour. This is not just an issue for rural Scotland but is becoming an issue and nuisance on the streets and pavements of Fife. Continue reading

Claire writes to Justice Secretary as crime in Fife rises

Today I have written to the Scottish Government to call on them to tackle Fife’s rising crime rates after the release of the latest official Recorded Crime Statistics has shown a 6% increase in reported crime in Fife. 

These statistics highlight the unacceptable increase in crime in Fife, despite the level in Scotland reaching a 40 year low. We must now look beyond these figures and ask why this rise in Fife has taken place.

The increase in reported crime follows on from concerns I raised last year regarding the restructuring of police services in Fife after it was announced that the number of chief inspectors throughout Fife was being more than halved, down from seven to three.

With the advent of Police Scotland concerns were raised over the future of local policing and the ability for the new force to respond to local concerns. Questions must now be asked of the new Justice Secretary if the current structure and planning has negatively impacted on local policing, particularly in Fife. Continue reading

Fife must be ‘Clued Up’ on legal highs

Yesterday I was pleased to be able to highlight the good work undertaken by Clued Up, a Kirkcaldy based charity, during a Government debate in the Scottish Parliament on the issue of New Psychoactive Substances, also known as ‘legal highs’.

‘Legal Highs’ are synthetic drugs that can be legally purchased from head shops in the high street or online. Continue reading