Senior Police Chief backs SNP on short sentences

Lothian and Borders
Chief Constable David Strang has backed the SNP Government’s plans to
replace short jail sentences with effective community punishments.

In an interview with The Times Chief Constable Strang said;

“The evidence is
that sending people to prison for a short time does little to reduce
offending in the long term.  In fact there is an argument that it is
likely to lead to increased offending, partly because the prison
service says there is little it can do with someone who is only in for
a few weeks.”

Mr Strang also highlighted the role of alcohol in offending saying “On
a daily basis in terms of the calls we receive, alcohol is by far the
greatest cause  of incidence of crime: crime of violence,
drink-driving, disorder.  If you take a more thoughtful approach
alcohol causes a lot of problems”

SNP MSP for Livingston and Justice Committee member Angela Constance welcomed Mr Strang’s comments saying;

“Chief Constable
Strang is right. It is vital we tackle re-offending and offending
behaviour, not simply lock people up for a few weeks or months so they
can come out and offend again.

“Community
sentences ensure people face up to their actions, take responsibility
and repay our communities for the damage they have done.

“These proposals have the support of the police, of victims organisations and of those that work with offenders. 

“It is time
opposition parties faced up to the fact that short sentences are part
of the problem, not the answer.   Instead of making political points it
is time we faced facts and got on with the job of preventing crime not
just locking people up.

“Community
sentences and restorative justice offer a better way of dealing with a
large number of offenders to stop offending behaviour and cut crime in
our communities.”

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