#AskFabiani – on police priorities

Question:

  1. Why are so many police resources devoted to policing football matches and not out on the street dealing with real crimes?
  2. Why are people getting lifted for drinking in the streets when there are more serious crimes to deal with?

Answer:

Police do a very difficult job. Day in, day out, they have to deal with some of the most unpleasant tasks in our society.

Too often, they find themselves clearing up after things have gone wrong when people have just been after a good time.

If police always waited for a crime to be committed before they intervened, the crime rate, the injury rate, and the damage to property would rocket.

Police need to deal with flash points that can lead to trouble, or even to accidental injury if large crowds get out of control.

Football matches and street drinking are just two of the things in life that seem innocent enough until you see what can go wrong if they are not policed effectively.

There are plenty of disasters in footballing history to show why a strong police presence is needed at football matches, especially when the ground is filled to capacity for a local derby.

That is why it is particularly disappointing to see highly paid players and managers act in ways that make the job of the police more difficult.

People drinking in the street – or in the local park – might think they are having a good time and ‘doing nobody any harm’, but often that is not how it seems to others.

This is especially true when an area gets a reputation as a drinking den, with an ever-changing group of people in various stages of drunkenness during the day and into the night.

One of the real achievements of the Scottish Government in its first four-year term has been the delivery of an extra 1,000 police officers to work in our communities.

This has resulted in crime falling to a 30 year low and knife crime in Strathclyde reducing by over a quarter since the SNP came to power.

Tackling crime should not be about criminalising young people. Too often, it is young people who are the victims of crime.

Alongside effective action to tackle crime, the SNP has also used money taken from criminals to fund a wide variety of activities for young people. Information about this can be found on the Cashback Scotland website.

Linda Fabiani
April 2011

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