We all expect to be able to live in a society where we are free from physical, mental and emotional harm; where our homes and belongings are secure; where our children can play safely in the street or on the internet.
Police and crime
We expect to feel secure in the knowledge that when we need the police they are there for us and that the justice system is efficient and effective.
That is why one of government’s greatest responsibilities is to ensure that our police service is able to respond when the public needs it.
Similarly, it is vital that the public has confidence in the justice system, that the courts treat the victims of crime well, and that sentencing is proportionate, consistent, and effective.
Labour’s pledge to recruit 10,000 more police officers to work on community beats in England and Wales will mean Scotland will benefit from an investment of £70 million.
Scottish Labour would invest in Police Scotland so it can deliver a balanced workforce, where officers can focus on policing, and support staff are well resourced.
Scottish Labour is also opposed to the plan to merge the British Transport Police with Police Scotland and will fight the current legislation going through the Scottish Parliament.
The SNP’s centralisation agenda in the creation of Police Scotland has put public trust in police services at risk. Transparency and accountability in the Scottish Police Authority, the regulatory body of Police Scotland, has come into question and we would ensure openness and accountability in the governance of Police Scotland.
An effective anti-terrorism strategy has to command the confidence of all communities, but the current Tory government strategy has the potential to drive a wedge between the authorities and entire communities. Some feel they have been unfairly targeted and singled out. In government, Labour will conduct a major review of the strategy.
Contrary to the Tory government’s rhetoric, it has not taken control of our borders or strengthened our national security.
Instead, the Tories have suppressed the independent inspectors’ reports, highlighting weaknesses in our borders, because they have cut the Border Force by thousands of personnel. They want to turn private sector landlords, teachers, medical staff and other public sector workers into unpaid immigration officers, forcing them to provide information to the authorities.
The Tories promised and failed to deliver 100 per cent exit checks at the borders. Labour will recruit 500 more border guards to add to our safeguards and controls.
Fire and rescue service
As with the centralisation of the police, Scotland’s fire and rescue services have come under increasing strain through budget cuts and the closure of stations and control rooms. As a result, response times have been affected and firefighters have warned that lives may be put at risk.
A Labour government will halt cuts to fire services in England and Wales, and recruit 3,000 new firefighters – investment which would mean a boost to Scotland’s valued emergency services.