Covid-19 (Young People at Risk of Offending)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 18th February 2021.

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Photo of Maureen Watt Maureen Watt Scottish National Party

4. To ask the Scottish Government how it is working with Police Scotland to engage with young people who are at risk of offending during the Covid-19 pandemic. (S5O-05028)

Photo of Ash Denham Ash Denham Scottish National Party

We work closely with Police Scotland to deliver the successful whole-system approach to preventing offending by young people. Police Scotland has confirmed its commitment to incorporation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into Scots law and to keeping the care review promise. It is also contributing to the development of a refreshed national youth justice action plan, and will ensure that its own approach reflects those commitments.

Police Scotland’s engagement with young people is an operational matter for the chief constable. Police Scotland has been clear throughout the current pandemic that it will continue to operate under the principle of policing by consent and will follow the 4 Es approach of engage, explain, encourage and only then enforce to protect public health.

I appreciate the hard work of the police throughout the pandemic and the professionalism they have shown.

Photo of Maureen Watt Maureen Watt Scottish National Party

I thank the minister for her answer, and I associate myself with her thanks to the police.

Torry, in my constituency, has recently seen an upsurge in small-scale youth vandalism. Prior to Covid and its restrictions, Police Scotland, along with partners such as streetsport Scotland, was able to nip those problems in the bud with diversionary activities. What actions are available at the moment to deal with such unnecessary vandalism?

Photo of Ash Denham Ash Denham Scottish National Party

I appreciate that the current restrictions are putting a strain on the delivery of face-to-face diversionary activities provided by local partners. We also appreciate that boredom and a lack of activity are among the biggest issues affecting young people at the moment. A variety of creative initiatives has been developed by local authorities and key partners to keep in touch with young people and ensure that they have access to activities. I am grateful to those who continue to provide such support during this difficult time.