Tag Archives: Justice

Petition launched to stop sale of so called “Legal Highs” in Angus

Angus Liberal Democrats have launched a petition calling on the sale of so called Legal Highs to end immediately. Following the news that the Montrose Evape-o-lution shop has been broken into for a second time, concerns have been raised that dangerous drugs are finding their way onto our streets.

The petition calls on the owners of the shops in Montrose, Arbroath and across Tayside to stop selling Novel Psychoactive Substances with immediate effect.

The petition can be found online by clicking here. If you want to share the address of the petition, Citi is http://bit.ly/StopLegalHighs

Montrose Legal High Shop after break in

There is no legitimate use of these products, which is why the UK Government has indicated that they will be banned in future. The owners should stop exploiting the vulnerable and stop selling them immediately.

With the Montrose shop is getting broken into repeatedly, these dangerous drugs are finding their way onto the streets and may lead to serious health issues for people living in Angus.

Lib Dem Montrose Cllr David May said,

“The shop was broken into twice today and this is at least the third time of being broken into. There is no doubt many of their products have been stolen. There are some very serious questions about security in the shop if the so called legal highs products can be removed so easily.”

“This is especially worrying as it is clear that the products so many of these types of shops sell are not safe and have led to deaths as well as real long term health problems for so many people.”

Busier Sheriff Court in Angus Closed by SNP #SNPFail

Figures revealed yesterday have shown that the SNP Government chose to close the busier of the Sheriff’s Courts in Angus. This was despite there being over £100 million unspent in the last year for Justice and the Procurator Fiscal Service. 

Angus Lib Dems strongly objected to the closure of Arbroath Sheriff Court and the figures reveal that the court was heavily used.  Forcing witnesses and victims to travel long distances will undermine the effectiveness of the justice system in Angus.

SNP representatives for Angus, Mike Weir MP, Nigel Don MSP and Graeme Day MSP seem to have little or no influence on their SNP colleagues making decisions centrally in Holyrood.

It is now clear that closing yet another service in Angus was a big mistake by the SNP.

Click here for the full article in The Courier which gives the following figures:

Between April 2012 to the end of March last year, prisoner journeys to Arbroath totalled 2,568, compared to Forfar’s 991.

Dundee received 5,262 prisoner movements in 2012/13, 5,284 in 2013/14 and 3,588 between April and November last year.

In the same periods, other sheriff courts received the following number of individual prisoner transport journeys:

  • Arbroath (closed in May) — 1,163, 1,405, 255
  • Forfar — 504, 487, 928

SNP in a mess over Noranside Prison

The Scottish Government are in a mess over the closure of Noranside Prison.  SNP Finance Minister, John Swinney MSP has promised to fight the closure, criticising the decision of his own cabinet colleague, Kenny Macaskill MSP.

The SNP need to get their story straight on Noranside.  On the one hand you have the Justice Minister deciding to close the prison and on the other, you have the Finance Minister and colleagues saying it should stay open.

The decision to close the prison makes no sense given the good work done by the prison and the impact on local jobs and the local economy.  The SNP should be supporting local people and businesses in Angus.

Noranside is currently underutilised purely as a result of Kenny Macaskill’s own decisions.  Long term criminals are being released directly from closed prisons without any transition or preparation for a completely changed environment.  Noranside provides an essential service for cutting re-offending rates.

Yet again, we have a simplistic solution from the Scottish Government, who cannot see the wider picture.  And in fact, it seems as if the SNP’s left hand can’t see what the right is doing.

Angus Cllr David May also called for Noranside to remain open, commenting:

“It is clear that the SNP are now totally split over what to do with Noranside. Kenny McCaskill needs to do a U Turn, as Noranside is a vital part of the justice system.  The Angus open prison has an excellent reputation for the rehabilitation of its prisoners.  I have heard that they get their parole and do not return, which is surely what we want from all of our prisons.”

“Furthermore, at a time when a recently released  Scottish government report shows that the prison population is growing, it is astonishing that the SNP Justice minister has announced plans to close what has been described by many as the hugely successful Noranside open prison.”

“In addition it is an open secret that there is still overcrowding in other prisons, as I have heard that one prison governor asked for ideas on how to spend the money he gains from overcrowding.  If this is true and the prison population is rising it really is absurd that Mr Macaskill plans to close Noranside.”

“I am also concerned about reportsof a bonus system in operation in our prison system which only applies to the best paid staff.  If this is the case the SNP Justice and Finance ministers need to explain why they support this especially at a time of cuts and what is the basis for the bonuses.  Surely it is not based on overcrowding?”

What a Christmas Present for Noranside staff

SNP Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill’s decision to close Noranside Prison is badly thought out and must be reconsidered.

Rumours of the planned closure of Noranside had been rejected as “groundless” by the SNP Government in late November. Now we hear the opposite is true.  This is the worst possible Christmas present from the SNP Government for the 55 employees at Noranside and their families.

It will also be a blow to the many shops and businesses in Forfar and Angus who supply the prison.  To hear this in the week leading up to Christmas could hardly be worse.

Noranside has been underused recently, purely because of Mr MacAskill’s own decisions. We are now hearing that many long term prisoners are already being released directly to the community, rather than via open prisons such as Noranside.  There has to be a real worry about public safety following this ill judged decision.

Angus Cllr David May also commented:

“It is all very well for the SNP minister to say there will be no compulsory redundancies but it is a fact that either the staff will have to move and leave Angus or they will lose their jobs. So much for the assurance that they will be redeployed as the minister is really giving those at Noranside the worst possible Christmas present”

Local Cllr Alison Andrews is on the visiting committee of the prison, and was told recently that there was no chance it was in line for closure.

“The work that goes on at Noranside is absolutely brilliant. Some of these prisoners have been locked up for 20 years or more and it’s vital that we give them some preparation and training before they go back to life outside.”

“If that layer is removed from of the justice system, prisoners will be released directly from closed institutions after years and years, straight out into a completely different world for them.  Their chances of coping with these huge changes are much better if they have had the excellent support, training and preparation from Noranside.”

“I know for a fact that reoffending rates are not as high among those who have had the opportunity to be in an open prison.”

Mrs Andrews is also worried about the future of civilian employees and the way this  directly affect them.