After an 18 month campaign, Lib Dems in the Scottish Parliament have finally forced the SNP to agree to make non-statutory stop and search illegal within 12 months. So called 'consensual' stop and search has led to thousands of innocent children being searched across Scotland.
Lib Dems across the region have been highlighting how this huge waste of police resources restricts young people's civil liberties and doesn't even work in stopping crime.
Paisley Councillor Eileen McCartin MBE has been strongly critical of the loss of local control over policing priorities that has resulted from the SNP's police force merger. She said:
“It’s absolutely ridiculous that Police Scotland ever set targets for stop and search in the first place. Our police should be busy tackling crime, not searching innocent people in order to tick boxes that have been introduced by central diktat.
“But now, thanks to Liberal Democrat action in the Scottish Parliament, the police will soon only be able to search where there is reasonable suspicion.”
In Giffnock, Alex Mackie, the former Provost of East Renfrewshire Council, said:
“On the doorsteps, local residents have told us that some young people feel harassed by the police when they are repeatedly stopped without any real cause. It is clear that police officers have been made to conduct searches just to meet targets, which only creates a culture of hostility between the police and young people.”
Katy Gordon is the Lead List Candidate for West Scotland Region. She added:
“In a democracy it shouldn't be too much to expect the police to only conduct searches where there is a legitimate reason. But it is only thanks to our Liberal Democrat MSPs in the Scottish Parliament that the SNP have been forced to finally act to protect young people's rights. If you want liberal values at Holyrood, you have to vote for a liberal party.
“Only the Liberal Democrats warned of the damage that abolishing the local forces would cause, and we have seen it with the stop and search debacle, police carrying guns to community council meetings, and the tragic failures in 101 call handling.
“There is still much more work to be done in reversing the damage that centralisation has done to policing in Scotland. Only the Lib Dems have a plan to bring real democracy back into Scottish policing, by giving councillors and local authorities a proper role in setting Police Scotland’s agenda for their area.”