Festive drink-drive warning

Campaign highlights the consequences of drink driving

Minister for Community Safety, Ash Denham, Lord Advocate, James Wolffe QC, and Assistant Chief Constable Mark Williams launched the festive drink-drive awareness and enforcement campaign in Edinburgh today, to highlight the criminal and personal consequences of being found guilty of drink-driving.


New research reveals Scots believe the top consequences of a drink-drive conviction are: losing their licence (81%); getting a criminal record (80%); or getting points on their licence (80%). However, the very real consequences, such as a prison sentence (64%) or having their car confiscated (47%) are not as widely considered. Neither are the personal consequences: such as losing their job (50%); being the cause of conflict in a relationship (45%); or the embarrassment or shame of getting caught (67%).



Minister for Community Safety, Ash Denham said:

“The consequences of drink-driving can be life changing and unfortunately there is a persistent minority of drivers who continue to ignore the law.

“A drink-driving conviction can be devastating, with significant criminal, personal, social and employment consequences.

“I was disappointed to see that during last year’s Festive campaign 567 drivers failed a breath test. To all those who persist in breaking the law remember, the best approach is none.”

The research also revealed people’s attitudes towards those with a drink-drive conviction change. Many respondents stated they would feel less likely to trust someone with a drink-driving conviction, as they see them as unreliable and view them as a criminal.



Lord Advocate, James Wolffe QC, said:

“This campaign reinforces the fact that driving whilst under the influence of drink is unacceptable and brings misery and devastation to families and loved ones across our communities.

“My message is very clear; you can expect to be caught and when you are, you will face the full force of the law.

“Motorists in Scotland should also be aware of the tough legal and personal consequences of drink-driving, not only could you lose your vehicle but you will receive an automatic ban of at least 12 months, a criminal record and a potentially unlimited fine. It is absolutely not worth taking the risk.”

More than 20,000 drivers are stopped by the police in Scotland every month and Police Scotland’s enforcement campaign will see an even stronger focus on drink driving on Scotland’s roads from 1st December, so the chances of being caught are higher than ever.



Assistant Chief Constable Mark Williams said:

“As we move into the full swing of the festive party season, our campaign reinforces the message that ‘the best approach is none’, reminding motorists that even if you’re slightly over the limit, in the eyes of the law you are a drunk-driver and a criminal.

“I am urging people to plan ahead during the party season. Think about how you’re going to get home and don’t forget about the impact alcohol can still have the morning after. The consequences of drink-driving can be devastating and we’ll have dedicated resources on patrol during the festive period to discourage anyone thinking about it. The best advice is don’t risk it, don’t drink and drive.”

For more information log onto dontriskit.info or check out the Road Safety Scotland Facebook and Twitter (@roadsafetyscot) pages.

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Domestic Abuse

Number of cases recorded by police remains around 60,000 a year.

Cabinet Secretary for Justice Humza Yousaf has responded to official statistics showing there were 59,541 domestic abuse incidents recorded by Police Scotland last year – up 1% on 2016-17.

In line with previous years, around four out of every five incidents of domestic abuse had a female victim and a male accused, while the vast majority (88%) occurred in the home, according to the bulletin ‘Domestic Abuse Recorded by the Police in Scotland, 2017-18’.

Analysts report that recorded domestic abuse levels have remained relatively stable since 2011-12, with around 58,000 to 60,000 incidents a year.

The Justice Secretary said:

“It is sobering to see the level of domestic abuse cases in Scotland remaining unchanged from previous years. As a society we must work collectively to reduce this number – making clear that such behaviour is unacceptable. This includes educating young people about healthy, positive relationships and challenging those who minimise the impact of abuse or gender-based violence.

“At the same time domestic abuse laws coming into force next year will help police and prosecutors to better-tackle coercive, controlling abuse that can have as devastating an impact as physical assaults. Police Scotland is delivering consistent, robust enforcement across the country which, alongside their disclosure scheme and the new laws, will help ensure there is no hiding place those who think they can continue to abuse partners ‘behind closed doors’.”

Assistant Chief Constable Gillian MacDonald, Crime and Operations lead for Police Scotland, said:

“Domestic Abuse is pernicious, it is destructive, debilitating and robs victims of their confidence and self-esteem, it has no place in modern Scotland. We are committed to working with partners and communities to eradicate it. It has no respect for age, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or income. We will relentlessly pursue those who abuse, whilst supporting victims, to help prevent domestic abuse from damaging their lives and those of their families, including children who all too often witness the abuse and suffer long lasting emotional trauma as a result.

“Domestic abuse is not just physical abuse, it can include verbal, sexual, psychological or financial abuse. It is often about power and control, with abusers using controlling behaviours to establish control over their victims. With this in mind we welcome the enactment of the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 which will come into force next year. In preparation, we are providing additional training to our officers and staff on the complexities of psychological abuse and controlling behaviours.

“Anyone reporting abuse to the police will be taken seriously, they will be listened to and their report will be investigated. We will continue to work alongside others in Scotland, including victim support and advocacy services to ensure support is available throughout the criminal justice process, and to keep people and their families safe.”


• The Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill received Royal Assent in March and is expected to come into effect next year. The legislation strengthens the law, including introducing a new offence, effectively criminalising the type of coercive and controlling behaviour that can constitute domestic abuse.
• The Scottish Government has provided funding to Police Scotland for more than 14,000 police officers and support staff to undertake training on the new legislation.
• Work is also underway to design an effective public awareness campaign to ensure that members of the public, including both potential victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse, are aware of the new law and that victims understand how they can report abuse.

The full statistical publication is available online.



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The Week in Review

This week’s round up includes plans to consult on the use and regulation of fireworks, 50 years of the Parole Board for Scotland and the latest on the Age of Criminal Responsibility Bill.

Fireworks consultation

Community Safety Minister Ash Denham announced plans for a consultation on the use and regulation of fireworks in Scotland.

Fireworks are often associated with celebration and can be a route for bringing communities together but if used inappropriately or without respect for others fireworks can cause distress or even physical injury to people and animals. The consultation will inform any actions that the Scottish Government could take to reduce the negative impact of firework use.

Actions could include increased restrictions on where and when fireworks can be used; improved access to advice and support to reduce the anti-social impact of fireworks; and new national guidance to support local partner agencies.

Evidence will also influence Ms Denham’s ongoing discussions with UK Government about legislation governing the sale of fireworks, which is currently reserved.

Age of Criminal Responsibility

The Scottish Parliament voted to endorse the general principles of the Age of Criminal Responsibility  Bill in its Stage One debate. It will see Scotland lead the way in the UK, ensuring no child under 12 will receive a criminal record.

Parole Board’s half century

On Wednesday, the Justice Secretary celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Parole Board for Scotland at its annual conference. He reflected on the way the parole system has changed since the board’s creation and, looking to the future, gave an insight into broad themes that will be covered in the consultation on parole in Scotland.

The consulation will be launched this year and will seek views on a range of issues including how to strengthen the voice of victims and their families in the parole process and how to make parole processes more open and transparent.

Hate crime consultation goes live

Mr Yousaf joined Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell and Lord Advocate James Wolffe to launch the Scottish Government’s consultation on hate crime.

‘One Scotland: Hate Has No Home Here’ follows on from Lord Bracadale’s review of existing hate crime legislation in Scotland which included recommendations that additional statutory aggravations should be created for age and gender.

And finally…

Mr Yousaf marked the first birthday of SEMLA, the Scottish Ethnic Minority Lawyers’ Association, and the official launch of the Lord Craighead scholarship scheme.

He said: “A career in law should be open to all groups and all backgrounds to ensure the legal profession – and Scotland – benefits from their ideas, their talents and their potential to provide access to justice for all. Diversity is not a tick box, not something that is ‘nice to do’; it is a necessity.”

The CashBack for Communities Youth Work Fund is now open for applications. If you work with young people aged 10 to 24, take a look at the funding criteria. The closing date is 7 December.

The analysis of the consultation on a statutory Appropriate Adult service was published, showing broad support for government proposals.

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