Scottish Conservative candidate for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, Shona Haslam, has urged the Scottish Government to provide more funding to support Community Action Teams in Midlothian to fight crime.
Between 2018 and 2019, the number of total offences recorded in Midlothian was 3,143, climbing to 3,203 in 2019-2020 despite the region being placed in lockdown for most of the year. Fire-raising and vandalism remain high, with 792 cases in 2019-2020 alone. There has also been an increase in motoring offences from 1,212 to 1,293, even though travel restrictions have been in place for months. Other crimes, which includes offences such as drug possession and handling offensive weapons, have only seen a slight drop, from 1,093 in 2018-19 to 972 in 2019-20.
Ms Haslam is calling for greater funding for Community Action Teams, which she has successfully rolled out in the Borders in her role as leader of the council. Midlothian’s CAT was going to be cut by Midlothian Council last year before funds were found at the last moment. Ms Haslam would like to see the Scottish Government guarantee that funding to ensure greater community safety in Midlothian.
Commenting, Ms Haslam said: “I’ve seen first-hand how effective Community Action Teams can be, performing vital work in our communities, keeping us safe and building better links with the public. It’s disappointing that crime has not fallen in Midlothian more. I’ve heard from residents how drug-related crime is still an issue in some parts of the region and the problems with fly-tipping are clear to see. I’d like to see the Scottish Government commit to providing a fair funding settlement for Midlothian that means CATs can continue to operate for many years to come. Instead, they would rather cut local government budgets without any thought for the consequences. The SNP may speak warm words on community justice, but the reality is that they’re soft on crime.”