Billy McAllister: Spoils of justice should stay in Scotland
I HAVE spent many years fighting against serious and organised crime in our city.
Whilst the Scottish Government and Strathclyde Police have had some success tackling this, much of the SNP Government's recent successes have been by reducing crime more generally across the board and deploying a 1,000 additional police officers in that battle.
Now let me be clear, some of our communities continue to suffer from crime rates that are too high, and at times operational policing needs to use greater use of intelligence and make greater inroads into breaking the cycle of crime in some of the more deprived communities I represent.
However without a doubt things have been improving and as an SNP elected representative this is something I am proud of, but it doesn't make me blind to the ongoing challenges we face.
Likewise I am not bind to the money collected in Glasgow and across Scotland each year from statutory court fines in Scotland that goes straight into the London treasury.
Not one penny is returned to Scotland. In the most recent year that statistics are available for, this was £45 million in 2010/11.
If Scotland were able to keep our own fine revenues, we could have put that £45million into tackling crime and boosting frontline police services.
Scotland has to pay for our own law enforcement, police officers, courts service and so on.
However the financial spoils of our successes go to London. That money could be used for anti-crime initiatives here.
It is our cash. For instance the £45 million in fine income received by the Scottish Courts last year would have paid for a 1,000 additional police officers.
We could use fine revenue from particular offences for specific action to tackle crime in that area.
The £18 million from fines for road traffic offences could be directed towards re-educating bad drivers and those from drug offences towards rehabilitation programmes. I know this is something that would benefit my constituents.
I started out as a community activist and ended up representing the SNP in Glasgow City Council.
Grass roots action is what I am best at, but I am not blind to the need for Scotland to control our own finances and keep all the cash we raise in order to use it for the benefit of our communities.
We already pay more into the UK Treasury than we get back, and court fines are just one example.
When it come to making life better for the people in Canal ward and across our city, my eyes are wide open to the need for Scottish Independence.
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