Government must “step up and take action” on quad bikes

I have called for the Scottish Government to step up and take action on the illegal and anti-social use of quad bikes and motorised scooters after they confirmed to me that they were not taking any action to encourage the responsible selling and ownership of such vehicles.

I am disappointed and deeply frustrated that despite a commitment from the previous Minister for Community Safety, the Scottish Government have now decided to hide behind the UK Government rather than take action.

I have been campaigning against such anti-social behaviour for some time and I have organised roundtables, met with the Police, campaigners, and concerned members of the public, and raised the issue many times in Parliament.

The illegal and anti-social behaviour on motorised off-road vehicles, such as quad bikes, continues to blight our local communities and the public rightly want to see as much effort as possible from everyone in tackling this nuisance. Continue reading

Claire raises domestic abuse during FMQs

Last week during First Minister’s Questions, I asked Nicola Sturgeon a question on domestic abuse.

Statistics show that the number of people convicted for a crime with a domestic abuse aggravator is upwards of 80% and in the last 5 years the number of people convicted has increased.

I support the work of Police Scotland and the Procurator Fiscal Service in tackling this crime . People must have confidence in coming forward and reporting domestic abuse and they must feel they have the full support of the authorities in Scotland.

Domestic Abuse is a violent and psychological crime that can devastate lives. We should be doing all that we can to tackle this abuse in Scotland.

Answers needed over police closure threat

Today I have called for answers from the Scottish Government over the threat of local police station closures. This follows news that Police Scotland are reviewing the future of 58 local stations, including a number of stations in their East division which covers my region of Mid Scotland and Fife. 

Under the SNP, Police Scotland faces a £27 million revenue budget overspend. The overspend is forcing Police Scotland’s hand and the potential closure of local stations is just the next step for a force desperately trying to make ends meet.

SNP ministers can no longer bury their head in the sand and claim that this will not have an impact on local policing. Amongst the stations reported to be under-threat are Anstruther, Bannockburn, Bridge of Allan and Tullibody.

The details where revealed following a freedom of information request after it was announced that Police Scotland intend to reduce ‘floor space’ by up to 25% through an estate strategy review. Continue reading

Claire welcomes UCG ban

After first raising concerns over Underground Coal Gasification in 2013, I’m delighted that today it was announced UCG has no place in Scotland.

It was clear from the outset that this was an unnecessary and environmentally damaging process that had no place in the region.

I was pleased when my successful call to have UCG include in a moratorium was accepted last year and that research has now left the Scottish Government with no option but to rule UCG out.

Whilst Fife will no longer be a guinea-pig for UCG, this can only be the first step. The Scottish Government must now come out and ban fracking so once and for all we can have a Frack Free Fife.

You can read more here.

 

Claire raises rise in sexual crimes

Following the release of recorded crime statistics this week I asked a question during First Minister’s Questions on the worrying increase in sexual crimes.

According to the statistics, sexual crime has seen a year on year increase since 2008 and there are concerns that we are seeing more sexual crimes involving young people.

That is why I asked the First Minister if she will back Rape Crisis Scotland’s call for support for their prevention approach in schools.

Continue reading

Police Scotland Morale

Following last week’s Courier exclusive, I raised the issue of Police morale during Justice Questions in Parliament.

According to a Fife whistleblower morale amongst the force is “dreadful” and the number of officers able to respond to concerns had been “decimated”.

Police Scotland have admitted that their budget is “challenging”. This follows a summer of concerning newspaper stories regarding the impact the budget is having on resources and local policing

Continue reading

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.

Fife GP Crisis

Yesterday during Health Questions I raised the growing GP crisis in Fife with the Cabinet Secretary for Health.

The news that Cannons Surgery in Fife has been taken over by NHS Fife and 8 surgeries in Kirkcaldy have closed their list to new patients is a huge cause for concern and it is vital that the Scottish Government take action.

In June £60 million was announced in funding to support GP services, it is important to meet demands that Fife gets its fair share.

You can watch the question below.

Claire continues Levenmouth rail campaign

As the campaign continues to reinstate the Levenmouth Rail Link I was delighted to meet with those involved in my office in Kirkcaldy.

Since I was elected as an MSP in 2007 I have been campaigning on the issue and I have previously held debates in the Scottish Parliament calling for its reintroduction.

Levenmouth is still one of the largest urban areas in Scotland not to be serviced by a working rail link. This is despite much of the tracks still intact.

Following the recent opening of Borders railway, Levenmouth Rail Link should be the Scottish Government’s and Transport Scotland’s next railway priority.

Last month during General Questions in the Scottish Parliament I called for the Scottish Government to commit to the rail link. You can watch a video of the question time below, my question is at 9 minutes.

Housing & Social Care

During Portfolio Questions in the Scottish Parliament I raised the issue of housing and its impact on the successful delivery of integrated health and social care in Fife.  

Fife Council has invested significantly in affordable housing and this is to be welcomed. It is also important that if we are to ensure that a joined-up social care agenda is to work that we need suitable retirement housing for those that may require a care package.

For this to be achieved local governments throughout Scotland will need support from the Scottish Government to deliver integrated social care and healthcare. It is important that the Scottish Government are working across portfolio briefs to ensure this can be delivered.

You can watch the question on the video below.