Wilful fire raising is a frequent offence in West Dunbartonshire.
By Lucy Ashton
Preventing and addressing antisocial behaviour will be the focus of a new independently chaired working group being set up by the Scottish Government.
Members will look at the current approach and make recommendations on what long-term changes can be made to reduce such behaviour and support victims. It is expected that the group will provide regular updates and present their conclusions to Ministers by the end of 2024.
The new group was announced following the publication of a joint report on antisocial behaviour by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Community Safety Network.
Community Safety Minister Siobhian Brown, left, who is bringing together the working group, said: “We want everyone to be, and feel, safe in their community and we are committed to tackling all forms of antisocial behaviour.
“Reported antisocial behaviour has broadly been in decline over the last decade, but the recent disorder on Bonfire Night, in particular, has shown that where issues arise, these can have a very serious impact for many people.
“The report published today recommends that we need to consider how we best develop our long-term approach to preventing and addressing this type of behaviour. That is why I will be convening an independently chaired working group. It is nearly 20 years since the Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004 was introduced and it is right that we examine whether this remains fit for purpose and that we assess our wider approach.
“I am grateful to those who took part in the engagement work with the Scottish Government and the Scottish Community Safety Network and shared their views and experience of antisocial behaviour. This report will inform the work of the new group.”
Director of the Children and Young People’s Centre for Justice Fiona Dyer, who will be one of two chairs of the working group, said:
“I am really looking forward to working with colleagues to support the prevention of antisocial behaviour across Scotland. Research demonstrates the vital importance and value of better engaging, enabling, and supporting individuals and their communities to reduce incidents of antisocial behaviour.
“Through encouraging actively social behaviour within local communities, we can collectively address current issues and develop an inclusive and effective strategy that Scotland will be proud of.”
Joint co-chair Lorraine Gillies, Chief Officer at the Scottish Community Safety Network, said: “Ultimately, we believe victims will experience less antisocial behaviour with a changed approach, making our communities safer places. We believe in taking evidence-based approaches to what works to reduce crime and antisocial behaviour, focused on tackling root causes and working together with communities to find solutions.
“I welcome the publication of our co-authored report – written in partnership with the Scottish Government – and the announcement of an independent working group, set up to review antisocial behaviour in-depth. I look forward to pursuing this work and, in doing so, improving people’s lives.”