Almost 7,000 hours of unpaid work handed out to criminals in East Renfrewshire as a punishment have not been completed, according to a new report.

Community Payback Orders (CPOs) are given to offenders as an alternative to a prison sentence.

However, a Freedom of Information (FOI) request submitted by the Scottish Conservatives shows that 6,871 hours given to East Renfrewshire criminals hadn’t been carried out.

Criminals who fail or refuse to carry out their community service can be recalled by the courts and sent to prison.

In its response to the FOI request, East Renfrewshire Council said offenders carrying out community service in the local area perform tasks such as making furniture and play equipment for nurseries, clearing rubbish that has been dumped by flytippers and supporting foodbanks and other worthy causes.

Jamie Greene, Scottish Conservative justice secretary, described the CPO completion figures for East Renfrewshire as “shocking.”

He wants to see tougher community sentence tasks for criminals across the country and is demanding that CPOs are always carried out in full.

Mr Greene said: “Some of the activities that criminals are assigned make a mockery of the suffering they have put their victims through and are not an appropriate punishment.”

Last year, the Scottish Government wrote off 262,153 hours of unpaid work by offenders across the country as a result of the Covid pandemic.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said: “Sentencing in individual cases is always for the court.

“The justice system holds those who commit offences to account and community-based sentences have helped contribute to record low reconviction rates in recent years.”

An East Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership spokesperson said “The restrictions placed on justice services during the Covid pandemic has meant there are some outstanding community hours to be completed.

“However, East Renfrewshire has one of the lowest rates of outstanding hours in mainland Scotland and our justice service has significantly increased capacity to ensure people complete their orders.


“During the period of January to March 2022, the percentage of unpaid work placement completions within court timescale has risen to 93 per cent."