This year’s summer break has not followed the usual recess script. Following my promotion to Minister for Community Justice in June, the past couple of months have felt like something out of Yes Minister- a whirlwind of meetings, reports and civil servants as I become familiar with my new role.
It is a huge privilege to be part of the Scottish Government, and I am looking forward to overseeing a variety of areas including improving access to justice, tackling anti-social behaviour, a review of the Child Scotland Act 1995 and interacting with the legal profession to keep communities across Scotland safe.
When entering office, the SNP government identified justice as a top priority and has achieved incredible results over the past ten years. Crime is at its lowest in over four decades. Communities are less likely to experience vandalism or violent crime than they were ten years ago. There are now more police on our streets, keeping offensive weapons out of the hands of criminals. It is not surprising that the UK Government looks to Scotland to learn from our approach.
Yet, there are still communities that face challenges posed by crime and anti-social behaviour. I am under no illusions that there is not more to do. A large part of my role is to tackle issues like these head on, ensuring that we continue to build on the progress of the past ten years.
I will also be working closely with the fire and rescue services. While a sunny summer has been a welcome change for us all, the long spells of hot and dry weather pose a greater risk of fire. As the world gets warmer and we can increasingly expect summers like this year’s, it is more important than ever to have a fire and rescue service that is fully supported and equipped to deal with these adapting challenges.
I am, of course, committed to keeping a strong involvement in Edinburgh Eastern. My first responsibility is to my constituents, representing their interests and lending support to great local businesses, organisations and campaigns. I was elected to be a constituency focused MSP and will continue to advocate on constituents’ behalf on the issues that matter to Edinburgh Eastern. I have a great team in the constituency office working hard every day to help with pressing constituency issues. Please continue to get in touch with any concerns firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy the rest of the summer!
This article first appeared in The Speaker.