Policy of Postcode Justice from Executive says Cunningham

As a preview to a keynote speech on Justice, which she is making on Tuesday, SNP Shadow Justice Minister Ms Roseanna Cunningham MSP today (Sunday) attacked the Scottish Executive for their policy of postcode justice when it came to supporting local authorities in their use of alternatives to custody.

Ms Cunningham revealed details from Parliamentary Answers and the Executive's own publications which highlighted that in 2000-01 cash which was ring fenced and allocated to local authorities for criminal justice social work to implement Probation, Community Service and Supervised Attendance Orders did not appear to be distributed on the basis of need.

* Probation Orders: Aberdeen City received 336,328 pounds for 248 Orders while Dundee City with nearly double the number of Orders only received 271,422 pounds

* Community Service Orders: West Lothian received 273,707 pounds for 104 Orders while East Ayrshire with nearly double the number of Orders at 195 only received 286,619 pounds.

* Supervised Attendance Orders: Edinburgh received 89,375 pounds for 96 Orders while South Lanarkshire with a similar number of Orders at 89 received only 43,793 pounds.

Ms Cunningham said:

"The SNP has always argued that there must a twin track approach to tackling crime in Scotland. This should include taking serial offenders off the streets while at the same time providing adequate resources for alternatives to custody to divert individuals away from a life of crime in the first place.

"The figures revealed today highlight that this Scottish Executive is presiding over a policy of postcode justice when it comes to the level of financial resources allocated for alternatives to custody.

"It appears that there are huge variations in the amount of cash that is allocated to local authorities to implement Court Orders as we have situations where a local authority which has a similar number of Orders to another authority only receives half as much money.

"This is completely unacceptable and the Scottish Executive must get its act together to ensure that criminal justice social work departments in local authorities receive adequate support from Central government to implement Court Orders."

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