Community Safety

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 3:30 pm on 21st February 2007.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Bill Aitken Bill Aitken Conservative 3:30 pm, 21st February 2007

No, I do not have time; I am in my last minute.

Paul Martin raised another interesting point about the disposals that are available for younger people. We have to examine the operation of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 and the way in which the children's hearings system can deal with people under the age of 16. I know that the minister probably feels a sense of déjà vu, but there are sound arguments for increasing the menu of disposals, as Paul Martin said, to deal with the under 16s. We have to be more realistic and imaginative at the same time.

Fixed-penalty notices might have a role, but our fear is that they represent a devaluation of crime. For example, someone can receive a fixed penalty for parking their car on a double yellow line. Indeed, some of the cases that previously might have been prosecuted have, for some time, been dealt with through warning notices, conditional offers or a cheeky letter from the procurator fiscal. We must ensure that there is not just another soft option.