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CRIMINAL JUSTICE SERVICE - LOCAL GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO PLAY LEADING ROLE SAYS COSLA

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Members of COSLA's social affairs forum will be asked today to support a leading role for COSLA in mapping out the ...
Members of COSLA's social affairs forum will be asked today to support a leading role for COSLA in mapping out the future of local criminal justice services in Scotland.

The call will come from COSLA's social work convener Mike

McCarron who, in response to a recent government consultation paper,

will tell forum members that local government needs to take the

initiative in strengthening arrangements for community justice.

Cllr McCarron will stress the fact that crime prevention and the

early diversion of young people from criminality are key areas for

councils, and that local government should resist any move to weaken

the local base for this work.

Speaking before the meeting, Mr McCarron said: 'COSLA is

committed to strengthening the ability of the children's hearing

system to deal with young people up to the age of 18 who are involved

in crime and we are disappointed that the review did not prioritise

resources to divert young people away from crime and imprisonment.

'We want to see closer collaboration between councils and voluntary

sector partners to ensure the most economic and efficient use of

resources.

'We also support stronger multi-agency work in the localities,

bringing together the local councils, the police, judiciary and

prison service to work together to make the best use of resources,

skills and experience across the agencies and were pleased to see this

proposal reflected in the consultation paper.

'COSLA wants to see resources coming out of unnecessary imprisonment and being invested in constructive programmes in the community, which offer paths out of crime and into responsible citizenship. This would represent real best value in the use of public funds.'

At the meeting, Mr McCarron is also expected to propose a

COSLA led working party to respond to the review paper. Partner

agencies in the voluntary sector, working on criminal justice and

community safety issues, will be invited to join with COSLA members in

this initiative and on this point he concluded: 'The government's

commitment to effective community sentencing is great, but we need to

be sure that what is on offer is resourced, works and just as

importantly takes on the views and solutions of local communities.'

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