Briggs criticises Justice Secretary’s response on Edinburgh housebreaking.

Miles Briggs, Lothian Tory MSP, is criticising the Justice Secretary Michael Matheson for failing to recognise the concerns of Edinburgh residents at a recent new spate of housebreakings across the city. Miles tabled a series of written Parliamentary questions on the subject following contact from affected constituents across the city. The Justice Secretary simply refers to the ongoing work of Police Scotland. Miles has also raised a number of constituents’ cases directly with Police Scotland.

Speaking today Miles said:

“It is disappointing that the Justice Secretary has chosen not to acknowledge the real concern of city residents at what appears to be a spike in housebreaking in certain parts of Edinburgh in the last few months. Constituents in a number of communities in the city, from Morningside and Craiglockhart to Craigentinny and Duddingston, have contacted me to express their alarm at being victims of housebreaking and they are looking for more support from the Scottish Government. Many believe that the deterrent measures in place currently are not adequate, particularly in relation to young offenders."

“I will continue to press Ministers to do more to support Police Scotland in its efforts to prevent housebreaking, prosecute the perpetrators of crimes which cause so much upset and alarm to so many people and ensure that courts have all the powers they need to give the most appropriate sentences.”

 

To read the full exchange, please see below. 

Question S5W-06762: Miles Briggs, Lothian, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 01/02/2017

To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to the reported increase in housebreaking across Edinburgh.

Answered by Michael Matheson (02/03/2017):

Day to day decisions on policing matters are a matter for Police Scotland, with the oversight of the Scottish Police Authority. Police Scotland continue to tackle housebreaking through the City’s dedicated housebreaking team and a range of tactics and measures to best serve Edinburgh’s communities. Police Scotland are also delivering local home security conferences and working with partners across the city to tackle the issue of break-ins and pursue offenders.

Question S5W-06763: Miles Briggs, Lothian, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 01/02/2017

To ask the Scottish Government how it ensures that sentencing for housebreaking is (a) appropriate and (b) acts as a deterrent.

Answered by Michael Matheson (24/02/2017):

Sentencing in criminal cases including for housebreaking is a matter for the court. The Scottish Government does not comment on nor intervene in any specific cases.

Housebreaking is generally prosecuted under the common law with maximum penalties up to life imprisonment available depending on the level of court in which a case is prosecuted.

The independent Scottish Sentencing Council has recently published its first Business Plan for the period up to September 2018. Included within this Plan is a future commitment to consider preparing sentencing guidelines in the area of property theft during the Council's next business planning period.

Question S5W-06764: Miles Briggs, Lothian, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 01/02/2017

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to (a) reduce the number of young people who commit housebreaking and (b) ensure that youths who commit housebreaking are appropriately sentenced.

Answered by Michael Matheson (24/02/2017):

Sentencing in criminal cases including for housebreaking is a matter for the court. The Scottish Government does not comment on nor intervene in any specific cases.

Housebreaking is generally prosecuted under the common law with maximum penalties up to life imprisonment available depending on the level of court in which a case is prosecuted.

The Whole System Approach is the Scottish Government's programme for addressing the needs of young people involved in offending. It aims to put in place tailored support and management based on the needs of each individual child. Offending by children is either dealt with by the criminal courts where necessary or otherwise through the Children's Hearings System which has a range of options available including Compulsory Supervision Orders.

The independent Scottish Sentencing Council has recently published their first Business Plan for the period up to September 2018 and this includes a commitment to prepare a guideline on the sentencing of young people. Although the guideline will be general to young people, it will include young people who commit acts of housebreaking.