A Fairer Scotland....

“My ambition is to deliver continuing reductions in crime by maintaining the extra police in our communities”

Levels of crime in Scotland are now at a thirty five year low. However, fear of crime is not falling as quickly as crime levels and so over these next four years I want a particular focus on actions that will not only make you safer, but as importantly will make you feel safer.

That means keeping more police in our communities and police working more effectively in your neighbourhood. It also means a continued determination to tackle the cheap booze that fuels so much of the crime and anti- social behaviour in our society. And perhaps above all, it means communities across Scotland being paid back by the criminals for the crimes they commit.

Last Winter, we saw offenders out clearing snow and ice off the streets outside old folks’ homes. That is the sort of tough community punishment we want - real and effective community payback that we know reduces re-offending. I’d much rather see offenders working hard in our communities than given free bed and board in prison.

The most important issue for the people who responded to our survey was to keep a visible police presence in our communities. That is why we will maintain the 1,000 extra police that have been employed over the past four years. The impact of these extra police is seen in the thirty five year low crime levels and the surveys showing more Scots now feel safer in their communities.

We are determined to see the extra police working in local communities, with enhanced public engagement through Neighbourhood Police Teams. That will also mean a renewed focus on community policing and beat policing.

Alongside the extra police on our streets we are also working to free up police time by taking forward, for example, the use of video technology and other changes in our courts. We also believe the time is right for structural reform of our Police Forces - we want less spent on overlapping headquarters functions so that money can be directed to the frontline.

The number one priority for the people we have spoken to in communities across Scotland is to see the police out and about on our streets and in our neighbourhoods.

Over the last 4 years we have successfully delivered 1000 extra police officers. We know from the record low levels of crime that more police in our communities does deter criminals. The SNP will continue to protect police numbers, so that we can keep more police on our streets fighting crime.