MSP slams Scottish government as figures show Lanarkshire criminals have 33,000 hours of community service canceled

An MSP believes the criminals in Lanarkshire were lightly sacked after it was revealed that thousands of hours of community service had been canceled.

New figures released by the Scottish Tories claim that 33,247 hours of community reimbursement orders have been canceled following a Scottish government decision in January to wipe out thousands of hours.

In North Lanarkshire more than 19,000 hours have been erased, while in neighboring South Lanarkshire a total of 13,431 hours have been erased.

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The list of Central Scotland Conservatives, MSP Meghan Gallacher, said: “The number of community reimbursement orders reduced by the SNP in Lanarkshire is absolutely staggering.

“They let the criminals get away with quashing those sentences. It’s a total slap in the face for victims of crime in Lanarkshire.

“SNP ministers must ensure that these community sentences are taken seriously and carried out.

“This is the latest example of the SNP dropping the victims.”

The North Lanarkshire Council said with the decision coming from central government it would not comment on the matter.

The Scottish government has said the move is necessary to prevent the build-up of unpaid work due to public health restrictions.

A spokesperson said: “The justice system holds those who commit offenses to account and community sentences have helped to record low rates of new convictions in recent years.

“The pandemic has been an unprecedented public health challenge.

“This was recognized by Parliament when last year it passed a law allowing community ordinances to be changed if necessary, as well as regulations earlier this year to reduce unpaid working hours.”

However, orders imposed for domestic violence, sexual misdemeanor and criminal harassment were excluded.

The spokesperson added: “Our justice system has continued to function effectively despite the challenges of the pandemic and those sentenced to community orders will still serve the majority of their sentences.”

Wishaw MSP Clare Adamson added: “” The changes to community sentences won all-party support in Parliament last year. They were made necessary by the pandemic to ease the pressure on local authorities.

“At the time. Social Work Scotland, Community Justice Scotland, local authorities, the Scottish Local Authorities Convention and the Scottish Social Work Association all made it clear that without making changes the system would have been completely outdated.

“So against all better judgment and evidence, the Conservatives were the only ones to oppose these measures amid a global health emergency.

“If the Tories had done what they wanted, local authority staff would have been in great danger with 10 people in a minibus during a nationwide lockdown.”

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