Our Plan for Scotland

Safe and secure communities

Safe and secure communities

Scottish Liberal Democrats want safer communities, and people swiftly brought to justice when they offend.

We also believe that everyone deserves a chance to get back on track.

The social and economic cost of offending and re-offending is immense. We support early intervention with those at high risk of first-time offending, and will support the further transfer of resources from ineffective short prison sentences to robust and effective community justice options.

Too many people still find themselves in the criminal justice system because of poverty, addiction and mental health issues.

We should have a criminal justice system which provides meaningful rehabilitation and support so that people are able to leave prison with the skills they need to be active and constructive members of their community. We will:

  • Implement the full range of rights and support for the victims of crime, previously agreed but not yet implemented by the Scottish Government. These include a single point of contact for victims, more information about delayed court cases and more consistent information about the release of offenders;
  • Introduce a new offence of domestic abuse;
  • Oppose further court closures, centralisation and closure of police control rooms;
  • Stop the backfilling of civilian roles by police officers;
  • Introduce a new presumption against short prison sentences of less than 12 months. This will maximise the chance of successful rehabilitation if offenders are diverted to robust community sentences. There is good evidence on the impact of this policy on young offenders which can be used to support the same policy in the mainstream prison system;
  • Make sure Community Justice Scotland is able to oversee the establishment of many more alternative sentences. Educate sheriffs and judges to use these more effective remedies;
  • Support the Angiolini reforms on women offenders and apply the same principles to our response to male offending;
  • Reduce overall prisoner numbers;
  • Extend throughcare for all prisoners, not just those serving sentences of more than four years, to give all offenders a clear right to support when they are out of prison;
  • Promote new partnerships with the third sector to help more prisoners get into successful employment after release.