Antisocial Behaviour on Buses

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at on 14 December 2023.

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Photo of Fiona Hyslop Fiona Hyslop Scottish National Party

I have been looking at the matter, which is why I am relaying that to Parliament today. I recognise that there will be ongoing interest in the subject.

We will not succeed in reducing antisocial behaviour by focusing on bus-related incidents and neglecting the root causes. During the past year, the Scottish Government and the Scottish Community Safety Network engaged nationally to build a robust picture of antisocial behaviour. The findings from that—“Reviewing Scotland's Approach to Antisocial Behaviour”—were published on 7 November. The review recommends focus on prevention through a long-term sustainable strategic approach. An independent working group on antisocial behaviour has been set up and will report to ministers by the end of 2024. Transport Scotland will engage closely with that group.

Last week, I took part in 16 days of activism against gender-based violence with a workshop on women and girls’ safety on public transport. Together with more than 40 stakeholders, we discussed making improvements for women and girls.

I thank everyone for their valuable contributions. I assure members that the Government and its partners are working to tackle the issues that have been raised. The findings of the young person’s free bus travel scheme that were published today will inform that. I will work with bus operators and other key partners to ensure that negative behaviour does not overshadow the truly transformative impact that free bus travel is having and will continue to have. As the young people at Wester Hailes high school said to me today, it gives them more chances, more choices and more opportunities, and it helps to change lives. Let us ensure that the experience of the majority is not harmed by the experience of the very small minority.