Kenny MacAskill MSP

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Kenny MacAskill MSP

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  • Member for: Edinburgh Eastern
  • Region: Lothian
  • Party: Scottish National Party

Kenny is a member of the following Committees:

Kenny is a member of the following Cross-Party Groups:

Parliamentary Activities

Search for other Speeches made by Kenny MacAskill

Meeting of the Parliament 30 October 2014 General Question Time and First Minister's Question Time : Thursday, October 30, 2014
The Cabinet Secretary for Justice (Kenny MacAskill)

Distributing and publishing revenge porn is a despicable crime, especially as it is often motivated by an intention to humiliate the victim. That is why the Scottish Government considers that there is a strong case for creating a specific offence to make it illegal to share explicit, intimate images without consent and we intend to seek views on the matter soon. A bespoke criminal offence would assist prosecutors and send a clear signal to society that such behaviour is criminal.

There are, however, existing laws that prosecutors can use when prosecuting the distribution of explicit images of another person without their consent. For example, offences of threatening and abusive behaviour or improper use of a public communications network may apply. Prosecutors are committed to ensuring that these criminal activities are effectively dealt with.



Meeting of the Parliament 30 October 2014 General Question Time and First Minister's Question Time : Thursday, October 30, 2014
Kenny MacAskill

I am aware of Christina McKelvie’s campaigning on the issue and of her debate in Parliament on it. She has been prescient in leading on the requirement for action. We have entered into discussions with Scottish Women’s Aid and the Lord Advocate has been pivotal in leading on the issue.

I assure Christina McKelvie that the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service is aware of the complexity of the issue. It understands the great harm that revenge porn causes, because Scottish Women’s Aid liaises with it. For that reason, prosecutors are advised, schooled and trained on the current laws that are available. However, the Lord Advocate believes that a bespoke offence would be better, as it would make things simpler and more straightforward for prosecutors.

I assure Christina McKelvie that we will work on all these areas. We will use the appropriate laws that we have at present to the best of our abilities and ensure that people in the police and the Crown are properly apprised of them and properly trained and schooled. I also give the assurance that we are seeking to consult on a bespoke offence. The devil is always in the detail, but we are aware that other jurisdictions are proceeding to bring in such legislation. It is something that we must consider and we will do so positively.



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
The Cabinet Secretary for Justice (Kenny MacAskill)

We have discussed policing many times in the chamber over the past 18 months. The Parliament and three committees debated the legislation at length before it was overwhelmingly approved by the Parliament, including all Labour members. I have taken part in many debates and have answered hundreds of questions, and the First Minister has been asked about policing on numerous occasions. The Justice Sub-Committee on Policing has met on 22 occasions. At the local level, there are now 360 councillors who have a say in policing—an increase of around 150 per cent.

Policing is subject to more effective scrutiny now than ever before, and the debate must be seen against that backdrop. I appreciate that members want to ensure that the new arrangements are working well, and they are.

We had to establish a single service to protect policing from Westminster budget cuts. Reform ensures that our policing continues to perform excellently. Scotland is a safer place; officer numbers are high; confidence in the police is high and rising; and crime is at a 39-year low. In Scotland, we have the best possible police service.

Members should compare the situation here with that south of the border, where policing has been devastated by successive Governments. More than 14,000 officers have been axed since 2007, and numbers are now at their lowest since September 2001.



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Kenny MacAskill

Crime in England and Wales has not dropped as far or as fast as it has dropped in Scotland, but the decline in police numbers is significant and huge. Numbers are predicted to decrease by 11 per cent, although Mr Pearson’s colleague Yvette Cooper suggested that a 12 per cent cut in police spending would be manageable. The Winsor reforms have been imposed on the service and morale is, unsurprisingly, at rock bottom. Following a record low turnout for a national peacetime election of 14.9 per cent, police and crime commissioners were introduced at an estimated cost of £100 million, which could have paid for 3,000 officers—it has been a disaster.

I appreciate that members had concerns about some officers carrying firearms on routine duties. The overwhelming majority of officers—more than 98 per cent—are unarmed. Only 275 of our 17,318 officers are authorised to carry weapons. As they are divided across five shifts, only a small number will routinely be on duty at any one time.

The chief constable has listened to concerns, and I believe that the proposals that were announced last week address those concerns while ensuring that armed officers can still be deployed quickly whenever required.

The reviews by HMICS and the SPA that are under way are crucial, not simply to this issue but to more fundamental questions about how policing engages with the communities that it serves and how we strengthen policing by consent. I welcome the action that the chief constable has taken on those difficult issues, but some members are still not satisfied.



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Kenny MacAskill

Not at the moment.

That is not only my view, but the view of Niven Rennie, the president of the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents, who said this week:

“I would have thought the fact that our Chief Constable … has taken account of public opinion … would be welcomed and applauded … Despite this, the misreporting and political point scoring continues.”

We see more of that again today.

During the passage of the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012, members from across the chamber rightly stressed the importance of there being no political interference in policing. We listened, and we placed that principle at the heart of reform. It is central to the way that Scotland is policed and to the way that we want it to be policed. Members would understandably be horrified if we did anything else. That is exactly why the chief constable should not be directly accountable to me or any other politician and why he is accountable to the Scottish Police Authority. Mr Pearson appears to want to roll back from that.



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Kenny MacAskill

In a minute.

Let me be clear: operational independence is different from accountability. The chief constable is solely responsible for decisions to enforce the law, but he is accountable—in our case, to the SPA—for those decisions.

I am disappointed by Mr Pearson’s motion and I fundamentally disagree with it.

Policing should not be used as a political football, and Mr Pearson should stop traducing the police and the SPA, undermining the morale of officers and staff, and attempting to score cheap political points at the expense of thousands of hardworking officers and staff who cannot answer back.

We have—



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Kenny MacAskill

I am coming into my last minute. [Interruption.]



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Kenny MacAskill

We have come a long way since the early stages of reform and the arrangements are now much more effective. The SPA stands for not simply holding the police to account but strengthening the very principle and practice of policing by consent, which is something that we can all support.

We should applaud the continued strong performance of our police and recognise that Police Scotland, working with the SPA, is listening to concerns and acting on them. Unlike Mr Pearson and his colleagues, this Government will never use policing as a political football to score cheap points. We must not undermine officers and staff.

This week, Brian Docherty, the chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, expressed grave concern about some politicians engaging in point scoring. That is exactly what we have seen today, and it is especially disappointing at a time when policing has been widely praised following the outstanding policing of the Commonwealth games, the Ryder cup and, of course, the referendum.

This is a time to celebrate Scottish policing, not to castigate those who serve us with such distinction. I reject the terms of Mr Pearson’s motion and propose an alternative.

I move amendment S4M-11114.2, to leave out from first “believes” to end and insert:

“acknowledges that policing in Scotland continues to perform excellently and, despite UK Government cuts, reform has ensured that crime remains at a 39-year-low, violent crime is down by almost half, crimes of handling offensive weapons are down by 60%, homicides are at their lowest since records began, police numbers are 1,000 higher than they were in 2007, compared to more than 14,000 officers being axed since 2007 in England and Wales, and confidence in the police is high and rising; recognises that Police Scotland listened to public views and opinions about stop and search and armed police and adjusted its approaches accordingly; further recognises that the current Scottish Police Authority and HM Inspector of Constabulary in Scotland scrutiny reviews will enhance the way that policing relates to the people and communities it serves; notes that, during the passage of the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012, members from across the Parliament stressed the importance of ensuring that there is no political interference in policing, and, following a period where Scotland’s policing has been so strongly in the international spotlight at the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup, calls on the Parliament to recognise the very positive impact of Police Scotland and to congratulate officers and staff for their excellent work.”

15:26  

Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Kenny MacAskill

As I said in my opening address, we have debated policing many times in the chamber in the past 18 months. As I have acknowledged, I appreciate members’ interest in ensuring that the new arrangements are working well. The time is right to stop scoring political points at the expense of the excellent job that the men and women of our police service are doing day in and day out. I regret that that has continued during this debate.

Margaret Mitchell criticised the chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, Brian Docherty. He is elected by rank and file officers to represent their interests, so it is right that he should speak out for those brave men and women.

Elaine Murray traduced the Police Service of Scotland by defining its work as Strathclydisation while sitting next to a member—Graeme Pearson—who had many years’ continuous service in Strathclyde Police.

Alison McInnes also criticised. We remember that although she champions the Liberal Democrats’ community policing, the Liberal Democrats do not appear willing to pay for it when it applies to their own party conference.

Scotland is a safer place, and despite Westminster cuts, reform has ensured that crime remains at a 39-year low. [Interruption.]



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Kenny MacAskill

Police numbers are 1,000 higher than they were in 2007, and public confidence in our police is high and rising.

In recent weeks, Scotland has been on the international stage like never before. The world has watched as the Commonwealth games, the Ryder cup and the referendum have been run free from threat, issue or incident. That is directly attributable to a police service that delivers excellence and in which we can have confidence and pride. That is what people in Scotland care about. To say that there is no policing by consent is wrong.

The Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012 established clear routes for scrutiny, engagement and oversight in Parliament in the chamber and, for the first time, through the dedicated Justice Sub-Committee on Policing. It established such routes at national level through the Scottish Police Authority, HMICS and, indeed, the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner. It did so at local level through local scrutiny boards with more elected members involved than ever before, as we heard from Kevin Stewart, and it did so at partnership level through emphasis on close engagement in community planning and the principles of joint working.

The appropriate checks and balances are in place and are working. We have seen the police and agencies respond through changes that the chief constable has made or through reviews that are to be carried out, and that are being carried out as we speak, by the SPA and HMICS.

There is always room for improvement, but that has been acknowledged by all parties, and work is under way to build further on the good relationships that have moved forward positively over the past 18 months. We are progressing that work against the backdrop of a system that we have built from the legislation that the Parliament overwhelmingly backed and which is working well. Let us collectively take pride in that and stop using our national police service as a political football.

International observers from around the globe are taking an interest in our effective approach to police reform. There have been recent visits by colleagues from countries including Sweden, Serbia, the Yemen and the Republic of Ireland. Indeed, only this month, the Irish Parliament praised our reform and said that it was “impressed” by the SPA and that it will look at it in greater detail.

We are a long way from the problems that are faced by our colleagues south of the border, where policing is being attacked, the morale of officers and staff is at rock bottom, and the profile of police and crime commissioners—whom Annabel Goldie has championed for many a year—is raised more through their indiscretions than through their positive impact on communities. They come at the expense of officers on the beat. I am sure that people in England and Wales would rather have a bobby than a commissioner.

Under my watch, there should not be and there will not be political interference in policing, as is rightly enshrined in the legislation that Parliament passed.

The SPA stands not simply for holding the police service to account, but for strengthening the very principle and practice of policing with the consent of the people of Scotland. I believe that that is something that we can all stand for. In doing so, collectively we must give the SPA the space to fulfil the role that it is moving into, and ensure that it is supported by the Justice Sub-Committee on Policing, which acts to give the national police service the oversight that it deserves and which came from discussions between Graeme Pearson and me.

Once again, I ask Parliament to join the people of Scotland in celebrating Scottish policing. Graeme Pearson has managed to unite the SPF, ASPS and the chief constable—but more in sorrow than in anger, from their point of view. In the strongest terms, I reject Mr Pearson’s motion.

16:10  
Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

 
NoDefeated

 
NoDefeated

 
YesCarried

S4M-11304.3 Michael Russell: Addressing the Attainment Gap in Scottish Schools—As an amendment to mo
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YesCarried

S4M-11304 Liz Smith: Addressing the Attainment Gap in Scottish Schools—That the Parliament believes
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YesCarried

S4M-11123 Joe FitzPatrick on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau: Business Motion—That the Parliament
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YesCarried

S4M-11114.2 Kenny MacAskill: Policing—As an amendment to motion S4M-11114 in the name of Graeme Pear
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11114 Graeme Pearson: Policing—That the Parliament acknowledges that policing in Scotland contin
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11116.1.1 Patrick Harvie: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to amendment S4M-11116.1 in the name
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11116.1 Nicola Sturgeon: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to motion S4M-11116 in the name of Jo
>> Show more
YesCarried

Search for other Motions lodged by Kenny MacAskill
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11314: Kenny MacAskill, Edinburgh Eastern, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11278: Kenny MacAskill, Edinburgh Eastern, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 23/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11277: Kenny MacAskill, Edinburgh Eastern, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 23/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11114.2: Kenny MacAskill, Edinburgh Eastern, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 07/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11101: Kenny MacAskill, Edinburgh Eastern, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10964: Kenny MacAskill, Edinburgh Eastern, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10634: Kenny MacAskill, Edinburgh Eastern, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 21/07/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10278: Kenny MacAskill, Edinburgh Eastern, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09557.2: Kenny MacAskill, Edinburgh Eastern, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09160: Kenny MacAskill, Edinburgh Eastern, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 25/02/2014 Show Full Motion >>
This Member currently holds a ministerial post. First Minister and Ministers cannot ask the Government questions which is why no recent questions are displaying here. Please use the full search to find details of previous questions by this Member.
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S3W-33254: Kenny MacAskill, Edinburgh East and Musselburgh, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/04/2010 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32438: Kenny MacAskill, Lothians, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 15/03/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32439: Kenny MacAskill, Lothians, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 15/03/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32437: Kenny MacAskill, Lothians, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 15/03/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32098: Kenny MacAskill, Lothians, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/02/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32099: Kenny MacAskill, Lothians, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/02/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32096: Kenny MacAskill, Lothians, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/02/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32097: Kenny MacAskill, Lothians, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/02/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32094: Kenny MacAskill, Lothians, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/02/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32095: Kenny MacAskill, Lothians, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/02/2007 Show Full Question >>

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