Monday 4 March 2013
The Specialist Crime Division (SCD) is a major part of the new Police Service of Scotland. It begins its operations tomorrow, Tuesday 5 March, in advance of the launch of the single service on Monday 1 April.
Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone will brief the media to introduce the division and outline its key responsibilities.
Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Kenny MacAskill, will join DCC Livingstone, who will introduce his command team including Assistant Chief Constables Malcolm Graham and Ruaraidh Nicholson, and five senior officers with specific portfolios.
The public launch of the powerful new team which will lead the fight against crime in Scotland’s communities, will take place at Leith Police Station.
photographs Stuart Maxwell
story Grace Franklin
A new project to help prisoners adjust to life after jail and avoid re-offending, is already having inspiring results and is supported by Kenny MacAskill, Scottish Government Secretary for Justice.
The project Faith in Throughcare started in June and was formally opened by the Minister at The Place in St Matthew’s Centre, Possilpark last month.
One former offender who has been ‘blownaway’ by the support he has received from it, testified at the launch to how it had changed his life. ‘The only way I’d know Barlinnie was when I was taken there in handcuffs,’ said John Melville who lives in the Possil area and has been a repeated offender since his youth and also had addiction problems. ‘When I became a volunteer for the project I walked in and out in the same day.’ He has recently been appointed a worker with the project and is now clear of his addictions. He told the large audience from across Scotland: ‘When I was in jail the last time for six months, I was overwhelmed to know that with this project there was a place across the road for my family to go to. This got the family together again and helped me tremendously.’ When he was released, the project volunteers who had contacted him in prison, continued to support him and his family. He became a volunteer with the project. Along with other volunteers, he went to establish relationships with prisoners in Barlinnie who were preparing for release. Once they are out, the support and care continues so that new ways of living and thinking they have chosen to follow, can be sustained.
In a rousing speech, Kenny MacAskill said Scotland had to question why we had the highest proportion of people in prison in the developed world. ‘Prisoners come from a community and return to that same community. Prisoners come from similar post codes. What the project Faith in Throughcare is doing is helping give self-belief, self-value and self-esteem to people. If a person is given hope and takes responsibility for himself and has someone to support him and believe in him, he has an opportunity to progress.’
Several local support centres such as The Place in Possilpark will be set up across Scotland via a variety of churches and faith groups. The drop-in centre brings together the resources of local churches, advice agencies, police and civic leaders to decrease the levels of crime, improve the sense of public safety and help break the cycle of re-offending.
Fergus McNeill, Professor of Social Work and Criminology at Glasgow University and Chair of the Faith in Throughcare steering group, added: ‘The challenges of re-entry or re-settlement have grown in both scale and seriousness. Sending more people to jail means that more people have to navigate the many obstacles that face ex-prisoners on release.’
Chairman of Faith in Throughcare, John Matthew, is a Church of Scotland minister in Maryhill. He said: ‘When a person has told their story, they become a different person. There is a deep, profound wistfulness from many people – such as ex-offenders – that they feel they are locked out of their church or any church. Through Faith in Throughcare the churches and faith communities, acting together, can offer human hands and friendship.’
by Lynsay Keough
The SNP’s knife crime strategy has been boosted by the release of figures which reveal a hugh fall in the numbers of people carrying knives in Strathclyde. The figures, released on the same day as it was revealed that under the SNP there are now 588 additional police in Strathclyde, report a 26% fall in the number of incidents of people carrying an offensive weapon.
SNP MSP for Glasgow, Bob Doris, said:
“We still have a serious knife problem in Glasgow but we’re finally moving in the right direction. Strathclyde Police are to be commended for their efforts, having put extra resources into tackling knife crime and working alongside the Scottish Government’s “No knives, better lives” campaign. Extra investment from the Government’s “Cashback for Communities” initiative has also provided alternatives to knives, gangs and violence for young people.
“Some of the invective coming from the Labour benches at Holyrood has been completely distasteful as they use specific examples of knife crime victims to attack the SNP Government. In reality, the figures released here show that real progress is being made under the SNP, in stark contrast to the spiralling problem we inherited from Labour.
“There has a been huge fall in the number of cases of knife carrying. In Strathclyde over the past year there have been over 1000 fewer incidents.
“Instead of attacking for the sake of it, Glasgow’s Labour politicians should be congratulating our police and recognising these figures as the beginning of the end of Glasgow’s shameful knife carrying culture.”
Glasgow marked Holocaust Memorial Day with a sobering reflection on the events of the Second World War, an uplifting tribute to a survivor of those terrible times and a message to the city’s youth that they have a legacy of hope to carry on.
This year is the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp in Poland by the Red Army.
Lord Provost Bob Winter and Leader of Glasgow City Council Steven Purcell were joined at the City Chambers by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, Communities Minister Fergus Ewing and leaders from the city’s many faith groups to tell pupils from the city’s schools that as the Holocaust passes from living memory, young people must keep the lessons learned at such a high price alive.
There was a tribute to the late Rev Ernest Levy, who survived seven Nazi concentration camps and became a cantor at a synagogue in the south of the city.
Rabbi Moshe Rubin, of Giffnock & Newlands Synagogue, reflected upon the tireless work of his friend, who died last year, in spreading his message of tolerance and understanding.
Recounting one of his many conversations with Rev Levy, Rabbi Rubin said Ernest insisted he could not stop with his work. ‘The story must be told, so that we make sure that it is never repeated again,’ he said, quoting the survivor.
‘Recording that in book form, the longest days of his life, was nightmarish. Literally, he would suffer nightmares throughout his life, and especially through those many months when he was writing down his memories. But it was as he told, many times, that it was for his grandchildren to remember.’
Citizens Theatre Young Co performed Voices from the Holocaust, taken from the words of ordinary people who struggled to hold on to their sanity in the camps – places where there was no sanity.
Pupils from Shawlands Academy featured in an educational film – to be distributed throughout Scotland as a DVD – about their trip to Auschwitz and their impressions of the camp with its exhibits of suitcases, hair shorn from inmates, empty canisters that contained poison gas and photo galleries where victims of the mass killings stare down at visitors.
Linda Hooper, Principal of Whitwell Middle School in rural Tennessee, spoke about her school’s remarkable Paper Clips project, which is the subject of an award-winning 2004 documentary.
The project, which aimed to collect six million clips as part of a voluntary afterschool programme aimed at raising awareness of the Holocaust and teaching tolerance, created huge interest across the US. A global rush to contribute to the project has followed.
Principal Hooper was inspired by the story of anti-Nazi resistance in Norway, who used the paper clip, the invention of a Norwegian Jew, as their symbol.
‘The event of the Holocaust, that horror, happened because people chose hate and intolerance,’ she said.
‘I look out at you and I think how marvellous it is to be a part of this diversity. That’s what we’ve tried to teach our children, that there’s a huge global community out there.
‘I can be anywhere on this globe in 18 hours or less, so when I start thinking in those terms, as I say to the children at our school: you’ve got to think that those people are your neighbours.’
In his address, the Justice Secretary said he hoped that Scotland could create ‘a future that will ensure, for our children and grandchildren, do not suffer the fate that our parents and grandparents suffered before us’.
‘One of the many lessons we’ve learned when confronting the horrors of the Holocaust is an understanding that mobs and movements are made up of individuals, and that each and every one of us has a choice.
‘Each of us has a moral responsibility to ourselves, our society and the world we all share and inhabit. We can all challenge discrimination where it resides.’
Mr MacAskill concluded: ‘It is important to remember that we must never forget … but perhaps the best words I can leave you with, since yesterday it was Burns day, that “for a’ that and a’ that; It’s coming yet, for a’ that; That man to man, the warld o’er; Shall brothers be for a’ that”.’