is a global concern at every level. While the likelihood of being
murdered or shot on the street may be small, it’s the everyday
burglaries and fights that so blight the lives of ordinary people.
sadly Scotland is no exception. We can’t claim to be perfect and we’re
certainly not complacent. All the same, I was pleased to discover on
Tuesday that violent crime in the South Lanarkshire local authority area
has fallen by almost a half since 2010.
Scottish Government’s Recorded Crime statistical bulletin (http://tinyurl.com/mj9a6uw)
shows a reduction from 616 offences in 2009-10 to 341 between 2012
and 2013 in this area.
Scotland now has a single police force, Police Scotland (www.scotland.police.uk)
operating throughout the country rather than the much more fragmented
structure of eight separate forces. These figures have been collated
before that shift took place on 1 April and hence are still listed by
each police force. Strathclyde Police, the largest of those eight
forces, included South Lanarkshire in its area of operations.
Vandalism, fire-raising and related incidents have also fallen by a
third from 5,633 in 2010 to 3,492 currently.
get me wrong. None of us thinks we can stop concerning ourselves about
crime. Our Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Kenny MacAskill points out:
“Make no mistake, there will be no let-up in our efforts, backed by
record numbers of police offers – over 1,000 extra since 2007 – who are
keeping communities safe and clearing up crimes more efficiently than
are continuing to work tirelessly to reduce knife crime and violence in
Scotland and believe education and prevention are key to tackling the
root causes of violence.”
read last week’s blog, you may recall that I was speaking to a Motion in
Parliament upholding the work of the Scottish Guardianship Service. This
is a uniquely Scottish model of care that helps asylum seekers and
victims of human trafficking to make a life here in Scotland.
people, particularly, can arrive here without any understanding of the
language, culture or practices involved in establishing an individual’s
case. The service is very highly regarded by those whom it helps.
was with real pleasure that I hosted a Refugee Week Reception at the
Parliament on Wednesday evening. Some of the young people performing had
really frightening and traumatic stories to tell and some had benefitted
from the Guardianship Service which appoints a single case worker to
help each individual understand what is going on and what the next steps
are likely to be.
theme of Refugee Week in Scotland (www.refugeeweekscotland.com)
is heritage and we saw some examples of what that means to a handful of
refugees here at the Parliament.
the example of Isra Mohammed Shahani from Somalia: “I came to Scotland
when I was 17. I had to leave my home country, Somalia, because it
wasn’t safe for me to be there anymore.
clothes I wear are part of my heritage and make me who I am. I love life
in Scotland but I still wear clothes from my country – I just make them
a bit more stylish! The scarves I wear now are more colourful and looser
than those I used to wear.”
whole week has an amazing range of events that run from local carnivals
to an enactment of a Sudanese community wedding day; stage performances,
singing, comedy, discussions on big issues like housing, workshops on
creative writing and literature.
kicked off with a big concert in Glasgow on Monday that fabulous guest
stars like Admiral Fallow, Karine Polwart and Malcolm Middleton,
formerly with Arab Strap, putting their spirit behind the events.
Concern Scotland, who run a great charity shop in Hamilton, is hosting
what I’m sure will be an interesting event on Friday. The charity wants
to see a much more joined-up approach to combining community transport
with the broader public transport service.
crucial that I listen to what various particular interest groups want to
say about their needs and how it feels the Scottish Government ought to
respond. Age Concern is running a campaign, of which this is the local
launch, to lobby for a more joined up kind of transport service (http://tinyurl.com/phbq3sz)
older people are finding it difficult to access mainstream bus services
and rely on locally arranged community transport services.
problem is that those regular bus services aren’t available everywhere,
and if you are quite elderly, perhaps disabled, you can’t always get at
them. So folk in that position want to see a more joined up
Scottish Government has protected free bus passes for people over 60
throughout Scotland (and for people of any age with disabilities) but
although these are crucial to a lot of older folk, they don’t work for
Still Waiting campaign recognises what a huge benefit the bus pass is
but points out that “it is only of value where a suitable bus service is
would like the Scottish Government to adjust the scheme so that it
includes community transport providers – the local organisations that
step in to provide transport for otherwise isolated older people in
circumstances where commercial bus companies say they can’t turn a
Government already provides far better and more inclusive care for our
older people than is available in England. We introduce free personal
care so that folk can stay in their own homes for longer. Having someone
to come in and help you with those basic needs can mean you are able to
maintain your independence.
those people who can no longer cope on their own, our care home services
– some run by local authorities and some privately owned – are carefully
and thoroughly monitored to make sure the standards are kept very high.
is National Care Home Day and I’ll be visiting Douglas View Care Home in
Douglas View is a purpose built 100 bed care home offering dementia,
nursing, residential and specialist care.
Comfortable, well equipped and considerate of the particular needs of
its residents – it has specially designed furnishings for example, a
choice of comfortable lounge areas and lovely bedrooms overlooking the
garden – and it provides good, home-cooked, fresh, nutritional meals
that respect each individual’s tastes.
such as this one look after people with all kinds of complex conditions.
Increasingly, the residents suffer from multiple problems and often
present with challenging behaviour as a result.
admiration for Gwyneth Langley and her staff is huge. This is a
demanding, 24/7 job with enormous challenges. It is, says Gwyneth, also
very satisfying. If, like her, you have a real love and commitment to
people reaching towards the ends of their lives, then being able to help
and support them must be fulfilling.