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Siobhan McMahon MSP Backs Police Scotland Review

Central Scotland Labour MSP Siobhan McMahon is backing a comprehensive review of policing in Scotland.

Ms McMahon is also calling on Falkirk West MSP and Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson to apologise to police officers who are putting their personal safety on the line to keep people safe in the face of brutal budget cuts from the Scottish Government.

This week Scottish Labour launched the Pearson Review, to be undertaken by Scottish Labour justice spokesperson Graeme Pearson.

Mr Pearson, a former Head of Crime and Counter Terrorism at Strathclyde Police before his appointment as Director General of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency will travel the country speaking to rank and file officers, civilian staff, community groups, victim support staff and others as part of a wide-ranging review of policing in Scotland.

The review will consider:

  • Local accountability
  • The relationship between Police Scotland, the Scottish Police Authority and Scottish Government ministers
  • Staffing
  • Targets

Since the creation of the single force in 2013 Police Scotland has faced a series of scandals and controversies – including the M9 car crash, cuts to civilian staff and services, a lack of transparency over stop and search and armed officers.

Last year, Police Scotland agreed to merge control rooms across Scotland which resulted in the closure of the Stirling facility. This has meant that residents in Falkirk now have to speak with a call handler working out of Bilston in Edinburgh with no local knowledge.

Police Scotland also closed eight police stations across Lanarkshire and dramatically reduced the public opening hours in several other stations.

Last week Chief Constable Sir Stephen House announced he will be stepping down before the end of the year. 

Ms McMahon also challenged Mr Matheson to say whether or not he backs the £500,000 pay off received by outgoing Chief Constable Sir Stephen House, at a time when the SNP Government have cut local police services.

Central Scotland Labour MSP Siobhan McMahon said:

“Police officers put their personal safety on the line every single day to keep people safe, but they are working under immense pressure.

“Instead of doing the job they trained for, too many are having to fill back office functions because of SNP Government cuts.

“In Falkirk we have seen local residents having to speak with call handlers working in Edinburgh with no local knowledge after the closure of the Stirling control room, one of six axed by Stephen House. Meanwhile in Lanarkshire, we have seen several of our police stations closed and a dramatic reduction in the operating hours of many others in an attempt to cut costs.

“Scottish Labour supported the introduction of the single police force back in 2013 in the hope it would share best practice and boost accountability but something has gone badly wrong with its implementation. The resignation of Sir Stephen House was the right thing to do but the problems won’t follow him out the exit door.

“Policing in Scotland needs a shake-up. We need to get back to the kind of community policing that made Scotland the envy of the world at one time, the kind of people that people in Falkirk can trust.

“Michael Matheson needs to take responsibility for what has gone wrong on his watch and sort out the mess his government have made of Scotland’s once world class reputation for policing. Officers and staff in the police deserve better.”

 

Interested parties can make submissions to the Pearson Review at http://www.scottishlabour.org.uk/page/s/the-pearson-review  or on pearsonreview@scottishlabour.email

 

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Siobhan McMahon MSP Encourages Central Scotland Charities and Businesses to Come Together in Support of #GivingTuesday

#GivingTuesday

Central Scotland Labour MSP Siobhan McMahon has thrown her support behind #GivingTuesday. After a very successful first year in the UK, the #GivingTuesday campaign is asking people to come together and give their time, money or voice to charity on one global day of giving.

This year, #GivingTuesday will take place on Tuesday 1st December.

Last year was the first year that #GivingTuesday took place in the UK, which is consistently ranked as one of the most generous nations in the world. Over 800 charities and businesses signed up as partners of the campaign, including household names such as BT, Facebook, Argos, NSPCC and Cancer Research UK.

#GivingTuesday trended on twitter for 11 hours, with over 2,500 tweets sent each hour about the campaign. More than £2,500 was donated each minute, and JustGiving reported that donations were up by 46% compared to the previous year. The campaign also secured the backing of celebrities including Helen Mirren, David Tennant, Tom Daley and Lily Cole.

Partner organisations are encouraged to take the campaign and do something of their own with it. As a result of the great work of #GivingTuesday partners last year, Marie Curie had a successful day on social media with a reach of nearly 400,000 on Facebook and their thank you video was viewed nearly 20,000 times. Global Giving took nearly £26,000 this year compared to £3,819 last year, an increase of 580% as a result of #GivingTuesday.

Siobhan McMahon MSP said: “#GivingTuesday is an extremely exciting opportunity for charities and businesses in Central Scotland.

“It has immense potential to motivate and mobilise charities, businesses and the public in our local area and create a movement that will get more people engaged in charity giving.

“I am proud to support #GivingTuesday and look forward to celebrating the generosity of my constituents and the great work our local charities do.”

Ben Russell, Director of Communications at the Charities Aid Foundation, said: “After a very successful first year of #GivingTuesday, it’s fantastic to see so much enthusiasm for the #GivingTuesday movement from so many amazing organisations – including some of the top businesses and charities in the country.

“#GivingTuesday is an opportunity to give something back, we hope that with the support of politicians, businesses and charities, we can get the whole nation thinking about charity at the start of the festive season.

“We want to encourage businesses, charities and individuals to take up #GivingTuesday really run with it – and make the second year of the campaign even more successful than the first.”

Visit the #GivingTuesday website to see the complete list of partners.

To follow the campaign and find out more information please email givingtuesday@cafonline.org or follow on Twitter @givingtuesdayuk

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Scottish Roads Partnership – Motorway Improvement Projects Drop In Day

mt

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HemiHelp Annual Professionals Conference

hemihelp_damienlewis

As a proud patron of HemiHelp, the charity which provides help and support to individuals and families affected by Hemiplegia, I would like to bring to your attention the HemiHelp Annual Professionals Conference.

I’ve had the privilege of speaking at the annual conference before and this years “Developments in the Management of Hemiplegia conference” will this year take place in Leeds on Thursday 17th September.

If you are working with hemiplegia in any way, then this conference will provide an excellent learning opportunity to help enhance your practice.

To view the full programme and to book and pay online, please click on the link below:

http://www.hemihelp.org.uk/about_us/what_we_do/events/annual_professionals_conference_2015

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List of Hamilton District Foodbank Referring Agents

It’s disgraceful that hundreds of thousands of people across Scotland are reliant upon food banks to feed themselves and their families.

Just 5,700 food bank parcels were distributed in 2011, in 2013 it was 71,000 and last year it rocketed to 117,000.

These food banks provide a lifeline to people in need and I would like to highlight the Hamilton District Food Bank Referring Agents so that people in the area are aware of how they can receive help.

Hamilton Foodbank Referring Agents 1

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Humjolie’s Multicultural Celebration

Humjolie poster

I would encourage people across Central Scotland to attend Humjolie’s 7th Multicultural celebration at Motherwell Concert Hall on 2nd of August.

Humjolie is a Bellshill based group that was set up by Asian women in 2007 to address the issues of isolation, language barriers, and lack of opportunities for Asian women in Lanarkshire. The group provides information, support, advocacy, activities and a listening ear to Asian women living in Lanarkshire.

They provide opportunities to women to get involved in health promoting activities e.g. healthy eating, exercise, dance, health walks and at the same time raise awareness of different health issues. One of Humjolie’s aims is to facilitate multicultural dialogue. It organises activities and events that provide an opportunity to different communities to embrace, share and celebrate cultural differences. The group organises activities with the aim of reducing stigma around mental ill health and promotion of mental health and well being.

This multicultural celebartion brings members of diverse communities together, promotes community cohesion and fosters a better understaing between different ethnic groups. Despite many cultural barriers Humjolie’s passion to make dance and music socially acceptable in the Asian community is the driving force behind this project.

Doors open at 6.30pm and the show starts at 7pm.

You can visit their facebook page here.

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With the school holidays under way, the following reservoir safety information may be of interest to constituents across Central Scotland.

 

STAY SAFE AROUND WATERCOURSES THIS SUMMER 

People are being urged to stay safe and not take risks around rivers, reservoirs and lochs this summer.

Scottish Water is also calling on children and parents to take particular care during the summer holidays and any spells of warm weather we might enjoy.

The latest figures show that, in 2014, a total of 338 people lost their lives to drowning in the UK.

Scottish Water has today launched a social media campaign #ReservoirSafety and a new video to highlight the importance of reservoir safety, which can be viewed at www.scottishwater.co.uk/reservoirvideo or on YouTube at https://youtu.be/xj4qR5Ct_rA

Peter Farrer, Scottish Water’s chief operating officer, said: “While everyone should enjoy their school holidays or take pleasure in the country’s beautiful lochs, rivers and reservoirs, it’s absolutely vital that they stay safe at all times.

“Safety is a serious issue as while the water may look harmless there are many hidden dangers. We need to ensure children, and parents, are aware of these hazards. We are reminding parents to keep their children safe and asking adults to act responsibly around watercourses.”

Dams, steep banks, spillways (overflows), deep cold water and underwater pipe work can present real hazards. And the majority of Scottish Water’s reservoirs are situated in remote locations, meaning there is a lack of immediate assistance and mobile reception can be poor. 

Elizabeth Lumsden, community safety manager at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Scotland, said: “It is important to be vigilant around inland waters, such as rivers, lakes, lochs, quarries and reservoirs. That’s particularly true during periods of hot weather and school holidays. The water can be a lot colder than expected, which can lead to cold shock; in the worst case, water will be inhaled and the drowning process begins. There may also be strong currents and underwater debris that you cannot see from the bank.”

Scottish Water is one of 10 partners involved in the Go Safe Scotland online education resource www.gosafescotland.com that has been developed to provide young people in Scotland with a variety of key safety messages, one of which is water safety.

George Cairns, the chair of Go Safe Scotland, said: “We welcome Scottish Water’s initiative to raise awareness of water safety, particularly in the run-up to the summer holiday period. The Go Safe Scotland and other websites can be utilised by parents, teachers and indeed children to seek out the appropriate information to how to Go Safe this Summer around water.”

Scottish Water’s advice is also targeted at pet owners. One of the biggest concerns with dog owners is when their pet dives into water, chasing a ball or stick. The pet more often survives such incidents, but the owners, who have attempted to save them, sometimes don’t. Dogs need to be kept on a lead if they are being walked near reservoirs and other bodies of open water.

Meanwhile, the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS), the drowning prevention charity, is running its Drowning Prevention Week campaign from June 20-28.

RLSS UK Chief Executive Di Steer said: “There is no quick fix to prevent accidental drownings. We believe education to instil a change in behaviour is the only method that will have an impact on people now, as well as future generations, and help prevent these tragic deaths and accidents.

“As the UK’s drowning prevention charity, we work tirelessly to achieve this aim. But we can’t do it alone. We need everyone’s help to raise awareness about the reality of accidental drowning, and to get water safety at the forefront of people’s minds.” 

If Scottish Water customers would like more information they can contact Scottish Water’s Customer Helpline on 0800 0778778 or www.scottishwater.co.uk/takecare.

For more information on RoSPA visit their website at www.rospa.com.

For more information of the RLSS UK and its Drowning Prevention Week visit www.rlss.org.uk or

www.rlss.org.uk/news/one-more-drowning-is-still-one-too-many/

 

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