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26 August 2016

Stevenson Welcomes 'Significant Drop' in Moray Crime

Moray continues to be one of the safest places to live in Scotland, with latest figures revealing significant drops in crime, increases in detections and doubling of proactivity. That was the message from the latest police performance figures presented to local councillors as part of Police Scotland's commitment to local scrutiny.

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson welcomed the figures. Congratulating the local Moray policing team he said there can still be no let-up in the fight against crime.
Serious assaults decreased by 38% compared to the same quarter last year (April to June 2016 compared to April to June 2015) with a 100% detection rate, while violent crimes have also reduced by 48% as officers continue to tackle violence and related anti-social behaviour through Operation PINE.

And thanks to other intelligence-led proactive initiatives including Operation Regard and Operation Witton, incidents of vandalism have also reduced by almost a quarter while detection rates for drug offences are at a five year high.

Crimes of dishonesty have also dropped by more than 30% when compared to the 5 year average and 13.5% compared to the same quarter last year. A major drop in motor vehicle crime has also been recorded, down 60% when compared to the 5 year average and 49% compared to last year.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson said:

"I congratulate the local policing team in Moray on these excellent figures. There can still be no let-up in the fight against crime but the numbers tell us that intelligence-led policing - where members of the public can play their part by reporting anything suspicious - helps keep us all safer from crime.

"While these figures are good news, we need to be on our guard against new types of crimes, for example digital or cyber crime, which will become an increasing challenge in the future and is to a large extent already an issue."

Stevenson Backs Bill for Seatbelts on School Transport

'Vital Measure' in Promoting Safety for Children and Young People

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has given his backing to North-east SNP colleague Gillian Martin’s proposal for a Bill to ensure that seat belts become a legal requirement on all dedicated home-to-school transport in Scotland.

SNP MSP for East Aberdeenshire Ms Martin has today officially lodged a draft proposal for a Bill – strengthening measures to improve the safety of children and young people travelling to and from school.

Mr Stevenson has been a long-time campaigner for better safety on school transport and has worked closely with colleagues, including his neighbouring MSP Gillian Martin – to further this.

Mr Stevenson commented:

“The proposed Seat Belts on School Transport (Scotland) Bill would introduce a statutory duty on local authorities and other education providers to ensure vehicles used in dedicated home-to-school transport are fitted with seat belts, where currently no such legal obligation exists.

“The Scottish Government has a long-standing intention to make seat belts a legal requirement on dedicated school transport and created a working group of key stakeholders to consider the issue over the last two years.”

Commenting, Gillian Martin MSP said:

“I am very pleased to take forward this bill which would represent another vital step in improving road safety for school pupils, and I hope provide peace of mind for parents and bus drivers with the knowledge of improved safety for children and young people on their way to school.

“No one thinks twice about wearing seatbelts in cars since the historical step changes in UK legislation – and I would hope to see a similar attitude shift stemming from this Bill.

“With this Bill it is hoped that by children getting used to having to wear a seatbelt on contracted school buses, this will translate into their attention to their own safety as they access other public transport.

“The Scottish Government has already worked closely with organisations such as Transport Scotland, COSLA and others in looking at this issue, and I look forward to engaging with a wide-range of stakeholders as we progress the vital Bill to ensure the safety of our young people.”

Brexit Threat to Vital Seafood Sector Says Local MSP

Sector Supports Hundreds of Jobs in Buchan

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson says the scale of European trade and investment shows that Brexit threatens the future of the vital seafood sector, which continues to be of significant importance in areas like Buchan.

Seafood accounts for over 60% of Scotland’s food exports to the EU – with EU membership benefiting the industry to the tune of hundreds of millions of pounds in trade and investment.

With two of the country’s biggest fishing ports and a significant amount of seafood processing taking place locally, supporting hundreds of local jobs, Mr Stevenson says answers from the Tory Government and others who campaigned for Brexit on how the industry will be supported are still nowhere to be seen.

Figures revealed by the Scottish Government in response to a series of Parliamentary Questions show that Scotland exported £438m of fish and seafood to EU countries in 2015, while £77m of EU investment has created or safeguarded 2000 jobs in the industry since 2007.

Scotland should receive €107m from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, 46% of the UK allocation, by 2023 – investment that is jeopardised by Brexit.

Commenting Stewart Stevenson said:

“Fishing areas like Buchan support hundreds of jobs from catching fish through to processing, as well as all the support businesses that operate around harbours and food processors.

“Seafood is a prime example of the benefits of trading without barriers across Europe – and is by far our largest food export.

“Without tariff-free access to trade with the EU, rural Scotland would risk losing vital trade that sustains hundreds of jobs in Buchan and thousands across Scotland. In addition there is tens of millions of EU investment that supports our seafood and agricultural industries.

“Over two months on from the referendum, the Tories and other Brexit campaigners are no closer to answering any of the central questions about what Brexit will look like – which is why it is absolutely right that the Scottish Government remains determined to stop Scotland being dragged out of Europe against our will.”
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