Do you feel safe?

It’s not a flippant question. Nationally crime has fallen both in Scotland and across the UK. And for many, police presence and local availability certainly seems to have reduced as well. Under the SNP, more local police stations are closing or only opening for part of the day. Constituents regularly say they don’t bother to report a crime because “the police won’t do anything about it” and say they have read in the newspapers that “the police are too busy to do anything about most minor crime”.

But do you feel safe? Speaking for myself, generally, I do. However, I know that high-profile incidents nationally and locally have caused real concern. And in some communities, public policy has created or exacerbated problems which really concern both the elderly and those with young children.

For example, last month as school students celebrated their exam results in Overlee Park, they were set upon by a gang of youths bearing saws and hammers with two young men being subject to serious assault. Arrests followed.

In at least one local housing area drug problems, anti-social behaviour and the relocation into the community of those who have caused problems elsewhere and have no obvious links to it, have made the lives of many long standing residents a misery.

Earlier this year a series of racially motivated house break-ins terrified many in the local Asian community. 

Nationally, high-profile serious criminals have been recklessly released back into the community, sometimes with appalling and serious consequences.

And public confidence has justifiably been dented by the high-profile mismanagement of Police Scotland by SNP ministers with a series of resignations at the highest serving levels.

Let me state clearly that in all my dealings with our local police, I find them personable and committed to our community. They stress that despite what people hear or read, every crime should be reported. Police Officers regularly attend local Community Councils and report back on local incidents.

The creation of Police Scotland, one single police force has not been the success the SNP claimed it would be. I abstained in the parliamentary vote that set up Police Scotland, not because I was not prepared to give it a chance but because the SNP refused to provide any local accountability infrastructure.

We all have a right to feel safe and to be confident that our families and communities will also be safe. It’s a key duty of government. I’m concerned that the actions of Nicola Sturgeon’s government are undermining that security. The SNP has seemed too interested in putting the interests and rights of offenders ahead of victims and our communities.

We need a change of direction. Scottish Conservatives are committed to making that change; to putting victims, communities and your sense of well-being first.

Meanwhile, please do report all crimes or anything you see which looks suspicious to the police. You will not be dismissed for doing so and you may very well be thanked by someone whose life will be made more safe because you did.