Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Alison McInnes MSP has called for the planned closure of local courts in January 2015 to be reviewed after she revealed statistics showing the last round of court closures resulted in people receiving a worse service.
In light of this, Ms McInnes has renewed her criticism of the government-backed local court closure programme. With the final round of closures due to take place next month, Scottish Liberal Democrats have also called on the Scottish Government to review the impact of the closures so far.
Analysis of figures obtained by Ms McInnes through parliamentary questions shows the length of time taken to hear cases is increasing at courts which took on additional business following the closure of courts in Arbroath, Cupar and Stonehaven in May 2014.
For example, the Scottish Liberal Democrats’ research revealed:
- Following the closure of Cupar Sheriff Court, the percentage of summary criminal cases completed within the six month target at Dundee Sheriff Court was on average 77% between June and September 2014. This compares to 84% during the same period in 2013.
- The average time taken to process a summary criminal case at Aberdeen Sheriff Court was on average 149 days between June and September 2014, up from 117 during the same period in 2013. This followed the closure of Stonehaven Sheriff Court where cases were previously completed in 109 days.
- The average time taken to process a summary criminal case at Forfar Sheriff Court was on average 121 days between June and September 2014, up from 110 during the same period last year. Cases at Arbroath Sheriff Court, from which business was transferred, were previously completed in 112 days.
Scottish Liberal Democrats have raised concerns about the SNP’s centralisation juggernaut after it was revealed Scotland’s national police force has created of a new central body charged with overseeing the force’s approach to road safety and road crime.
The Road Safety Governance Board, chaired by the Deputy Chief Constable from Crime and Operational support and comprised of members including COPFS, Transport Scotland, Road Safety Scotland and the Scottish Government Road Safety Strategic Partnership Board, is to provide “strategic oversight and consistency at national level.”
Scottish Liberal Democrats have warned that the emphasis on a national strategy will alarm many communities who may already feel the police force is focused on meeting targets set by senior management instead of the needs of local communities.
Figures published earlier this week showed a 14 percent increase in the number of people convicted of traffic offences, to 40,258.
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has said that Alex Salmond has broken his word to the Scottish people with his claims that he thinks there will be a second referendum on independence.
In an interview with the Times, Mr Salmond said he now believed there would be another referendum on independence within his lifetime.Read more
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP has said that Scottish Liberal Democrat will urge the SNP to keep their eye on the ball and do what they can to boost jobs and growth.Read more
Scottish Liberal Democrats have said that sluggish improvements in performance against cancer waiting times targets mean that too many patients are still facing long waits to begin treatment within 62 days of urgent referral.Read more
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has said that the real legacy of the referendum experience must be a reinvigorated democracy.
Scottish Liberal Democrats have said that SNP ministers must be unrelenting in their efforts to drive down the £3bn cost of reoffending to Scotland each year.Read more
South of Scotland MSP Jim Hume has today formally launched his bid to stop smoking in cars with children present. The Scottish Liberal Democrat has now formally introduced a member’s bill, which, if passed, could see smokers hit with a £100 fine if they are caught smoking in their car whilst children under the age of 18 are present.Read more
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP has said that today marks a proud day for equality, as same-sex couples in civil partnerships can marry in Scotland.Read more
Scottish Liberal Democrats have said that urgent action must be taken to put health boards back on track towards meeting crucial mental health waiting time targets.Read more