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Waking up in Madland

Posted on August 22, 2013 by

We were up very late last night after a poker game. We think we might still be in some sort of fever dream, because however much we rub our eyes we can’t quite believe what we’re seeing in Scotland’s media this morning.


We’ll get to the bizarre story about the alleged hacking of Yes Scotland’s email and the No camp’s desperate, astonishing, barely believable attempts to whip up a smokescreen around it later. But first we want to take a quick look at something we missed yesterday in all the fundraising excitement, and which one of our indispensably alert readers brought our attention to.

The item in question – and it really is in question – is the lead story from yesterday’s Herald. The headline, “Huge rise in police stop and search numbers”, seems pretty self-explanatory and concerning. So let’s have a delve in the detail.

“Record numbers of people are being stopped and searched by Scotland’s police, fuelling fears that the approach is becoming unethical.”

Okay, sounds worrying.

“The new nationwide single force has used the powers on a massive scale across the country since it took over policing in April – including a doubling of the number of people being dealt with in Edinburgh. The total is a far higher proportion of the public than is being dealt with by forces in England and Wales where the legislation is different but the population is more than 10 times higher than Scotland’s 5.2million.”

So you can’t actually compare the two because they have different legislation? Hmm, not the strongest of starts, but hopefully the numbers will make everything clearer.

“Across Scotland, officers stopped and searched 186,463 members of the public since April  in the first three months of Police Scotland’s existence. By comparison, for the full 2012-3 year across Strathclyde there were more than 612,000 stop searches, although senior police say this led to a record performance with a 50% reduction in violent crime since 2007.”

WOAH! Let’s just rewind that a touch. 186,463 in three months compared to 612,000 for a full year would indeed be a substantial rise, IF those figures were repeated across a full year. IF police stopped and searched people in the same numbers throughout the whole of 2013-14, it’d equate to 745,852 – a 22% increase.

Now, that hasn’t actually happened, but if it’s a deliberate policy then it’s not wholly unreasonable to extrapolate the three-month figures into likely annual ones.

But wait a minute. The 186,000 figure is for the WHOLE OF SCOTLAND. The 612,000 figure is for STRATHCLYDE ALONE.

The jurisdiction of the old Strathclyde Police encompassed about 2.3 million people. That’s roughly 43% of the population of Scotland. So if we’re playing the extrapolating game, the all-Scotland figure for the whole of 2012-13 would be something more along the lines of 1,423,000. In which case, the 746,000 figure implied by the Herald would represent NOT a 22% rise, but an almost 50% fall in stop-and-searches.

(The reader who sent us the story said that they’d attempted to helpfully point this out twice in the story’s comments section, but had both comments rejected by the Herald’s let’s-call-them-“unpredictable” moderators.)

The article, which was widely circulated yesterday on social media by people attempting to imply the imposition of a sinister new SNP police state, appears solely on the strength of its own evidence to be completely and spectacularly wrong, on a ridiculously basic level.

(The rest of the piece comprises a scattershot collection of statistics which have no bearing on the headline, except one about racial profiling which appears to disprove the earlier suggestion that “the approach is becoming unethical”.)

We can’t quite believe these are the standards to which Scottish journalism has sunk. But it does make the rest of what’s going on today a little easier to explain.

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72 to “Waking up in Madland”

  1. Macart says:

    Look for lots and lots and lots of squirrels to be let loose today. 🙂

  2. Tony Little says:

    Must admit to skim reading it yesterday and didn’t make the connection!  Must try harder.

  3. wee 162 says:

    I’m not convinced the reporting on this is definitely deliberately misleading, I personally think there’s just a complete obliviousness to numbers in the press in general. It’s actually scary how often you can pick up on basic errors in reporting if you’ve got even the most basic knowledge about stats.
    I would recommend anyone to listen to a couple of episodes of More Or Less from Radio 4. They have a look at different statistics and how they’ve been reported. Quite eye opening how often something gets distorted, but also how uncritical the media is in reporting things. It doesn’t necessarily mean the media is biased, just shite…

  4. Cath says:

    It really is just Pravda style propaganda all the way now.
    The hacking / Yes paying an expert thing throws up more questions the more you think about it as well.
    If yes paid £100 to one expert to write a fairly dry piece on a written constitution – so not really opinion, just reporting what’s being discussed – who pays for the rest of the media? Who pays for all the myriad anti-independence pieces?
    Why did Yes have to pay him? Apparently the Herald took the piece but refused to pay for it. Eh? Why? The media like to whinge and bitch about us horrible members of the public taking their wibblings and rantings for free rather than paying them, but they’re not paying writers?
    So is it the case that if you want something published now, you have to pay for that opinion to be there?
    If so, that goes a long way to explaining the bais of the media – the UK state and NO camp have very deep pockets. Can we now assume anything we read in the media is paid for propaganda, rather than that the media have just chosen to be biased off their own back.
    And with your crowd-sourcing skills, how much would it cost for us to buy space in the Herald and put some of your stuff in if that’s the way it works?

  5. Gizzit says:

    Poker night?  Tell us you didn’t bet £7,200 on a pair of fours.

  6. Cath says:

    Was the reason the media didn’t cover your poll because we didn’t factor the cost of paying them to do so into the crowd-funding?

  7. mato21 says:

    I buy my chocolate raisins at Aldi (recommend) today they had run out Have you been stocking up?

  8. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Poker night? Tell us you didn’t bet £7,200 on a pair of fours.”

    Actually I did very well with 4s last night. Was a lucky number for me 🙂

  9. Gillie says:

    If the Herald are censoring reasoned argument and comment in such a heavy-handed fashion then I would suggest that reasonable people should not be commenting on Herald stories. It would be better just leave it to the usual nutters.   

  10. Morag says:

    LPW covered this topic yesterday.
    He’s taking the “massive ramping up of stops and searches” as reported by the Herald at face value.  Who’s right, here?

  11. Alasdair says:

    Heard some commentary on this yesterday.  Apparently, in Scotland, by proportion of population you are more likely to be searched if you’re white, rather than an ethnic minority.  Unlike down south where you are disproportionately more likely to be searched if you are from an ethnic minority  grouping … although I also understand that it is common practice way down South to refer to ethnic minorities as either “criminals” or “illegal immigrants”.

  12. Gordon Bain says:

    4 is my lucky number too. 3, on the other hand, pfft!

  13. Dcanmore says:

    Scottish journalism really is finished, they are now the story. All they do is invent to distract. A police state was already created under Thatcher when she gave powers to the police to thump picketing miners and new age travelers because they didn’t fit in her new world order. Then Cool Britannia Tony came along and put hundreds of thousands of cameras on our street corners and made us fear for our communities when we didn’t need to, not forgetting ID cards for all, thankfully for most that was step too far, but we still have the cameras. Then we got the PCSOs, or the plastic police, a benign harmless force for good until you look at the reserved powers they hold. But we don’t see journalists questioning what we already have, just pretend it didn’t exist till five minutes ago when it fits a particular political agenda.
    Dishonesty in the Scottish Press is suffocating.

  14. Xander says:

    The Herald have form for this kind of stuff. I have made a complaint to the PCC for their refusal to acknowledge that they had used a cropped image to suggest SNP infiltration of LFI. I twice attempted to draw this point to the Herald’s attention below the line, and both comments were removed almost immediately. I even linked to the NNS article showing cropped and original photos.
    I currently await a response from the PCC. Unlike BBCS, the Herald and it’s website are subject to PCC oversight. I shall let you know when I receive a response.

  15. MajorBloodnok says:

    13 is my lucky number which is why i never win at poker – it always raises a few eyebrows when I slip the odd 13 of diamonds from my sleeve into a straight flush.

  16. Clarinda says:

    Leaving MSM bias, prejudice, smear and feartiness aside – have we ruled out simple stupidity?

  17. southernscot says:

    Suppose its a concerted attempt to portray Scotland as a police also article in the “Scottish” Daily Express in June helps build that picture.
    “SCOTLAND is to introduce the free world’s most intrusive computer database of personal details, with every citizen being logged and monitored from “cradle to grave.”

  18. Seasick Dave says:

    I find the colour red lets me down.
    Recently I was set up for a 147 clean sweep at snooker but missed the second red.

  19. Morag says:

    It’s Lucy Adams.  She’s just back from maternity leave, and most people saw that as a good thing because she’s usually a decent journalist.  I like Lucy.  Lallands Peat Warrior has blogged on it yesterday and not questioned the figures or the conclusion.

    My head hurts.

  20. Macart says:

    I get mine at Lidls. No Aldi nearby, but still very good.
    On the evidence of the past 48hrs I’ve stocked up for the weekend. 🙂

  21. scottish_skier says:

    MacWhirter in the Herald talking about government pressure on papers to control their content. Guardian certainly had the frighteners put on it.
    Something worth considering when considering the Scottish Press?

  22. Murray McCallum says:

    Well done to the Herald reader who made this spot and complained.  How low can they go?  Probably very, very low – which, on the bright side, makes it easier to bury them.

  23. Braco says:

    not an unreasonable theory considering those involved, except that their ‘stupidity’ always seems, coincidentally, to attempt to damage or cast doubt on the case for Scottish Independence while building support for the betterNO campaign.
    Surely true stupidity would lead to idiotic claims equally benefiting/damaging both sides of the ‘debate’?

  24. kevybaby says:

    @gizzit – 🙂

  25. alexicon says:

    It also pays to watch thy enemies enemy.
    No coverage of this in our Daily Tabloids.
    “Now flip-flop Labour back Tory reforms on welfare: Party spokesman says Universal Credit was ‘good idea in principle’ and wants it kept in next manifesto”

  26. Xander says:

    @Rev, I’m just glad you weren’t caught with Aces and Eights ( a la Wild Bill Hickok) 🙂

  27. Arajag says:

    Edinburgh, 8,259 stop and seach operations between April and June, compared to 4,706 for the same period last year. Lothian and Borders, 642 up from 376. The story is that the old Strathclyde Force policy is being rolled out across the country.
    If you are going to make any comparison, make them like for like, not some made up linear extrapolation, though of course I understand this was done further to the somewhat silly compariosn made by the Herald (and a number of other publications/sites)
    As for the story to be some indication of a SNP police state, that is patently ridiculous. There is obviously a drive for stop and search, though, and it seems to be yielding results.

  28. Gillie says:

    Surely Lucy Adams would want regale against well argued and reasoned comments being censored on this story. 
    Then again perhaps not. 
    Perhaps The Herald should join the other Scottish rags on the shelf marked as FICTION.

  29. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    I think the general public (ie those most likely to vote) think stop and search to be a good thing in general terms.

  30. Morag says:

    So, Arajag, you’re saying that stop-and-search incidents have (not quite) doubled in both Edinburgh and L&B in the comparable three-month period in question, between 2012 and 2013.
    So, what are the same figures for Strathclyde?  What are the same figures for Scotland as a whole?

  31. Tearlach says:

    Chips, Heroin and Poker? So thats what we are paying you for…….
    Seems to be working though.

  32. HandandShrimp says:

    On stop and search, it would also appear that the Scottish police are absolutely even handed with no group or ethnic minority subject to disproportionate treatment.
    It is hardly surprising that Stephen House will roll out policies that have afforded fairly dramatic success in Strathclyde in reducing violent crime and the carrying of weapons. If the totals for the first quarter are correct then it seems likely that although other areas have increased their numbers, Strathclyde must have eased back a touch. Cast for the whole year on such trends then is likely total numbers of stop and search for the whole of Scotland will be less but much more evenly spread across the country whereas before Strathclyde had the bulk.
    On newspapers, it has been my experience that journalists are shockingly bad at analysing statistics and numbers generally. So much so that even in supposedly good papers like the Guardian it pains me to read some of their derived conclusions from official statistics and numbers. I don’t think there set out to deceive because sometimes they miss obvious things that would support their editorial line. I think they are simply number blind.  

  33. Arbroath 1320 says:

    I think this just proves what we have all suspected for some considerable time and was fully backed up by Wings’s EXCELLENT Panel base poll carried out recently.
    What’s that, you have NOT read about this excellent poll in the MSM but I thought they ALWAYS ran with the latest opinion poll results. Ach silly me, of course they would NOT run with these results, they proved the media have been telling porkies!
    I must admit that because our “beloved” media REFUSE to report the findings of the latest Panel base poll then I’m not surprised that no one is aware of the high level of trust that the Scottish public hold in the media.
    FOOLED YA! There is absolutely NO chance the people of Scotland hold anyone in the media in high esteem, as WE all know, the level of trust in Scotland p[laced in the media is a MASSIVE 6%! Based on this HIGH figure of trust is it any wonder that we find articles like this where they, the Media, twist figures out of ALL proportion and confuse things even more by comparing “oranges with apples!”

  34. Joybell says:

    This story could just as easily been given a positive slant.  The new overall police force is more efficient and is now able to conduct more searches, which has brought the number of violent crimes down by nearly 50%.

  35. Morag says:

    Oh, Arb, calm it down a bit.  All that shouting is giving me a headache.
    I’m still confused about this.  So searches have gone up in Edinburgh and L&B.  Have they come down in Strathclyde, and H&S suggests?  What is the cumulative effect of these changes on the all-Scotland figure?  Do we have the data to say?

  36. les wilson says:

    Let  us say what the BBC and all MSM ,including Bitter together, is a CONSPIRACY.
    Aided and funded by Westminster AND YES, our taxes,neat eh!

  37. Braco says:

    Stop and search gained its deserved bad reputation when police forces in England used it as a method to target ethnic minorities, mainly in the high crime inner city areas (poor) where those minorities found themselves living.
    It was perceived rightly by these communities and later proven statistically to have been used as a form of racial profiling by an institutionally racist police force.
    There appears to be no such abuse of stop and search by the police force in Scotland and therefor no equivalent  justified outrage from the population over what looks to be it’s effective use.
    This does not mean that we should not be constantly on our guard for it’s possible misuse or over use though. It just isn’t some simple numbers game as it seems to be getting reported as.

  38. Interesting!

    I’ll have to have a proper look at the statistics, which I admit, I just took at face value. My wee blog of yesterday was really more about the interaction between the national and local and police policies – but this warrants a closer examination.

  39. Arajag says:

    @Morag – I’ll to dig out what I can. Stop and Search is being encouraged, though. Just read the link I posted. However, it’s worth noting that the policy calls for “intelligence led” Stop and Search. So you may well find some areas actually reduce. The logical conclusion is that in high crime areas , stop & seach will increase; in below average it may well reduce.

  40. Braco says:

    Just re read my last post. For clarification.
    I am against ‘stop and search’ being used as an offhand, everyday police power. Police must be able to prove (in court if need be) that they had good reason to suspect an individual before being allowed to use what is a draconian and illiberal power over a citizen’s freedom. A freedom they are being paid to protect. I am instinctively worried therefor over any large rises in the incidence of  ‘stop and search’ in Scotland.

  41. Arajag says:

    @Braco. What if those increased stop and searches result in a 50% drop in violent crime as was the case with Strathcyde?
    Of course I understand your concerns; but there is a balance to be struck.

  42. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    I’ll have to have a proper look at the statistics, which I admit, I just took at face value.”

    Hadn’t actually looked at your piece, but will be intrigued to have an expert eye cast over it and see if there’s a simple explanation for what appears to be out-and-out total incompetent buffoonery on the Herald’s part.

  43. handclapping says:

    I’ve never been stop and searched. This is unfair. On behalf of the wrinklies I demand equal rights to be stopansearched. Is it better than BOGOF or 342? What does it get you?

  44. Alba4Eva says:

    If there are 750,000 to over a million stop and searches in a single year and about 5 million people in Scotland, then some folk must be getting fairly regularly stopped.  I have never been stopped and if we assume that children under a certain age and pensioners over a certain age, as well as many like me (early 40’s) who have never been stopped, then just how frequently are some (maybe neds etc) getting stopped… once or twice a week?

  45. Murray McCallum says:

    I’ve witnessed stop and search on many occasions – mostly while being in private taxis believe it or not and all in South London.  Interestingly, the drivers being stopped (a) had all the same colour of skin and (b) were not white.

  46. HandandShrimp says:

    I’ve seen Strathclyde police set up an airport style metal detector at the local railway station when the annual fair is on and all the yoofs are made to go through the detector before heading into town. I’m guessing that counts as stop and search and that must rack the numbers up hugely. I didn’t have to go through it, profiling of a sort I guess….albeit I would only go to the fair at gunpoint.

  47. MajorBloodnok says:

    How times have changed (not).

  48. Braco says:

    yes there is a balance to be struck and that’s why I had to have two stabs at trying to make clear where I thought it was.
    For me the problems arise when we ignore the fact that the individual police officer is a citizen, the same as everyone else is and is as susceptible (maybe even more so considering their day to day job) to the failings and discriminations prevalent within their society.
    It is therefor important to have our laws and their powers framed in such a way that protects the citizen from possible unconscious discrimination on the part of the individual officer and the authorities as a whole.
    As I said in my first post, it was these failings that rendered stop and search in England practically useless as an effective tool against crime, instead turning it into a source of illegal discrimination and possible miscarriages of justice by an ‘institutionally’ racist police force. It’s still a politically difficult subject to broach in London to this day.
    Not something I think happens in Scotland at the moment but not something that we are somehow immune to happening should we take our eye off the ball for any significant period of time, just because our politicians like to shout about headline numbers in crime reduction.
    Just my thoughts though Arajag.

  49. Tony Little says:

    Hang on!  There are 750,000 – 1,000,000 S&S a year in Scotland alone?  Let’s assume at least some moderate profiling, and most people stopped will be late teens – early 30s, again I will assume some profiling, so probably mainly boys/men are stopped. So let’s say 90% male, 10% female.  Let’s also assume that profiling would eliminate at least 50% of possible ‘targets’.  So what does that mean?
    According to the 2011 census, Scotland has 1.4 million people in that age range.  Given the mainly male angle and the 50% “dodgy” profile, it means that every suspect male person is subject to a S&S two or three times a year.   Or the really ‘dodgy’ ones every week?
    And hardly anyone seems to complain?

  50. Doug Daniel says:

    Does the media in Scotland not understand the kind of damage they’re doing with this stuff? Those of us who are in favour of independence are unlikely to forget the deceitful manner in which these people have behaved. We’re not going to go “oh well, the independence debate is over now, so we’ll just carry on as if you hadn’t spent decades trying to push propaganda onto us, and the past couple of years actively engaged in spreading lies and misinformation.”
    We simply can’t trust our media now. That’s a shocking state of affairs. At least in North Korea they’ve got the excuse that they’re being forced…

  51. Training Day says:

    “We’re not going to go “oh well, the independence debate is over now, so we’ll just carry on as if you hadn’t spent decades trying to push propaganda onto us, and the past couple of years actively engaged in spreading lies and misinformation.”
    That, astonishingly, seems to be the attitude of Unionists in the political arena as well as the MSM i.e. that supporters of self-determination will just fade away after a No vote and things can return to ‘normal’.
    A remarkable capacity for delusion is required to operate within the Unionist bubble.

  52. Memphisto says:

    There are a number of things that people can be stopped for, and they all relate to something criminal, ie possession of drugs,knifes/weapons or alcohol, stolen property or money or suspicion of any criminal activity. If all they are doing is enforcing the laws that are there then I have no problem with that.  And would you rather the police be soft on crime? 
    Is there any breakdown in the statistics to the reasons for the stop and searches?

  53. Famous15 says:

    Would that have been British Transport Police?
    Police Scotland press office should clarify these stats. Anyone ask?Lets compare apples to apples and pears to pears before I go bananas!

  54. Dcanmore says:

    @Doug Daniel…
    I think we’re heading into ‘maintaining the union at all costs’ stage by the unionists, slash and burn in the hope that somehow things will be better for the newspapers once the referendum is over and won. Like you I think the Scottish press have harmed themselves irrevocably regardless of the referendum result.

  55. Braco says:

    And would you rather the police be soft on crime?
    They already are memphisto, with white caller crime, serious and organised crime, tax avoidance crime etc etc….  But if you’re a wee ‘ned’ in a poverty stricken cooncil scheme expect to be stopped and searched 2 or 3 times a week.
    By the way, do you get many respondents to that question saying ‘Yes definitely! I want the police to be soft on crime”?

  56. Dcanmore says:

    Message on YES Facebook page …
    “We will not be posting to social media today while IT security issues are being addressed. Apologies for any inconvenience.”

  57. Murray McCallum says:

    A football daft, Greenock Morton-supporting friend of mine was “stopped and searched” about 1/2 mile outside a Brighton v Millwall FA cup game.  I watched with amused interest eating a kebab. It involved one officer holding both his arms behind his back, one officer questioning him, and another filming it, up close, on a camcorder.  I suspect if they had the facilities, they would have water boarded him there and then.
    He reverted to flying every other week to his mecca of football.  His analysis of, hassle free, home defeats always made for good listening.

  58. Macart says:

    @Doug Daniel
    On that thought I’d hate for a no vote to pip this on the day, especially through their current strategy and method. I don’t think there’d be any doubt that on any following referendum a landslide yes would win the day, but the social and economic damage caused in the interim would be awful. I’d rather Yes won by 1% this time round than by an embittered landslide a few years down the road. Trust between politicians, media and the public is already at an all time low, it needn’t and musn’t get any worse than it is now. Those in charge of the opposition campaign and their media chums really need to stop and think about what they are doing to the electorate.

  59. Braco says:

    Not sure what white caller crime is….. probably some sort of new fangled race hate speech crime or something?

    Sorry white collar crime. (ridneck)

  60. Tony Little says:

    I live in a part of the world that may not be classified as a “police state” but it IS one where no one trusts the police.  Crimes go unreported because no one thinks anything will happen, the police have been found to be in “relations” with organised crime, they are often “off-duty” criminals themselves.
    In years past, maybe it is decades now, the policeman in most communities was a trusted and reliable member of that community.  Lived there, worked there, knew the people.  That relationship with their communities seems to me (I am 15 years outwith the UK now) from afar to have gone.  There is to my mind a realignment if the police relationship in that they are more than anything the STATE’S police force, and not their communities’ police force.
    Stop and search is just another aspect of this disconnect between the police and the people they are supposed to be protecting.  I do not like S&S, I think it is generally arbitrary and is a sop to the tabloid wild exaggerations about crime. When you look at the total number of S&S and the actual results of this, I have to ask whether this is useful police time.
    I hope the UK and especially Scotland do not make the mistake of exacerbating the growing gap of confidence between the police and the community.  That would be a sad way to start Independence. 

  61. Memphisto says:

    I would prefer the police to be tough on all crime, I didnt say otherwise.
    Thats like me saying that from your point of view you are ok with people carrying knives and they shouldnt be searched.  Sorry but I prefer the searching if it prevents people being killed or injured.

  62. muttley79 says:

    Re the question of whether the Unionists and most of the MSM care about the damage they are doing?: I think the answer is they do not care.  After all, the McCrone Report was kept secret for around thirty years.  I think they are not bothered about democracy, they only want to win.  The end justifies the means for them.   

  63. soosider says:

    A very informative and interesting debate. Leaving aside the Herald being statistically illiterate. What we are seeing is not a massive increase in stop and search, in fact it maybe dropping. What we are actually seeing is the beginning of a National Police Force. It has taken what most see as avery successful scheme run by Strathclyde Police the Violence Reduction Unit and made it a national scheme. That will be why we see teh increase in stop and search in Edinburgh and Lothian, to my mind as long as the stop and searches are properly targeted and conducted I have no problem with the. The evidence from Strathclyde is that the are very effective way of tackling crime.

  64. beachthistle says:

    I think this was deliberate unionist spin/propagande, not stupidity. From listening to some ‘No’s recently, one of their big ‘messages’ is that Scotland is inherently ‘illiberal’ (and therefore needs to be saved from itself – by, er, the UK…).

  65. clochoderic says:

    Anecdote Alert!
      On holiday a few years ago my family got friendly with a rastafarian bloke from west London and his girlfriend. He told me that he could sometimes be stopped and searched by the cops several times a day going about his lawful business. He took some legal advice about what procedures the police had to follow and turned it to his advantage.
      If he thought he was about to be searched he would fill his pockets with the nearest available rubbish and would then insist that the polis carry out their search in the prescribed manner – ie. recording each item they found on his person.
      Hence the passerby could witness the surreal scene of a pair of plods painstakingly recording in their notebooks:
    1 crisp packet (empty)
    1 box of matches (empty)
    5 sweetie wrappers (miscellaneous)
    1 paper handkerchief (used)
    4 disposable lighters ( empty)
    6 pizza flyers
    1 grey button
    1 10 pfennig piece
    1 kinder egg child’s novelty toy
    1 black biro pen (empty)
      etc… The local plods soon got wise to it and left him alone.

  66. a supporter says:

    Having read the Scottish Police Authority’s paper as provided by the link below. It is a straightforward story. And a simple extrapolation of Stop and Searches (SS) in Scotland for Q2 of 186,463 would become circa 745,852 for the full year. And this would be due to the deliberate extension of what was the former Strathclyde Police’s SS policy throughout Scotland. A policy which gave large reductions in crime against the person in Strathclyde and is leading to similar reductions in crime in Edinburgh and Borders. So what’s not to like?

    According to the SPA’s Paper simple comparisons between SS in Scotland, and England and Wales, cannot be made because of the different operational practices and Legal system.

    Finally the SPA’s Paper states that … “thedemographic breakdown of stop and search activityin Scotland indicates that there is no age or racial bias towards individuals from black and minority ethnic backgrounds”

  67. G H Graham says:

    The Herald was once a decent newspaper that conducted investigative journalism & presented well research facts. It has always been free though to spin the story in whatever direction it wanted to, entitled to, as we all are, free speech (with some conditions of course). The reader would digest the information & reach a considered conclusion even if they didn’t reach the same one as The Herald.

    Today, the scarce number of staff & the poor quality of its editorial management means that they have little time to corroborate, correlate, cross & double check their sources of information. And none of that seems to matter anyway so long as the weekday editor, Magnus Gardham appears to have been given permission by the proprietors to use the paper to undermine & attack the SNP at almost every opportunity. He also likes to give Labour a platform from which is can publish its own press releases, laced with themes that invariably included attacks on Alex Salmond & his administration. 

    Yesterday’s story about stop & searches was an obvious but amateur attempt to suggest that the police in Scotland are abusing their power as a direct consequence of the structural changes made by the Scottish Government which of course is run by the SNP who currently enjoy a majority house.

    The implication that Gardham wants you to consider is that if you vote for independence, you can expect to live in an increasingly sinister country in which the police are likely to search you even though you are under no suspicion & have committed no crime.

    And while none of the statistics printed jive with the implication he is making, he also completed omitted any reference to the Terrorism Act 2006; British legislation amended to allow the police to detain those arrested under suspicion of having conducted, or being engaged in planning, terrorist crimes for 28 days before being charged with a crime. Apparently Gordon Brown thought that was being soft & supported keeping folks locked up for 3 months without being formally charged.

    If Gardham wants to discuss the idea of a police state, he should look no further than Westminster where its elite political class thinks its quite acceptable to lock up people for 12 weeks because they think someone is up to no good.

  68. Patrick Roden says:

     I seem to remember that their was concerted crack down on Glasgows gangs over the past year or so, after a spate of stabbings. so this may explain the rise.
    I wonder if the Labour Party in Glasgow council made some public statements about how the police needed to do ‘something’ to stop the gang culture ?
    It the ‘rise’ can be partly laid at labours door, the story will disappear without trace.

  69. lumilumi says:

    Oh great!
    I just wrote a really brilliant, thoughtful piece in defence of public broadcasting, with criticisms of the BBC, but admitting that right now I’m listening to online BBC radio for the fifth Ashes test at the Oval. (I learned to love cricket in Australia so I’m always supporting Oz in the Ashes.)
    Just when I tried to post my brilliant piece, my cable broadband decided to have one of its two second blackouts. Poooof, there was my brilliant comment wiped out, lost in cyberspace. [frustrated smiley here]
    I think the most important thing I said is that the licence fee/public broadcasting tax enables our public broadcaster YLE not only to provide news in Finnish but also to commission Finnish drama, comedy, in short, make Finnish programmes for a Finnish audience, in addition to the BBC nature/history documentaries, costume/crime drama and other quality stuff they buy from other European or world TV channels/ production companies.
    So, however much indy-minded people in Scotland hate the UK propaganda machine that the licence fee -funded  BBC is, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. The only way indy Scotland is going to have Scottish programmes is through SBC. The commercial channels are going to be saturated by American chaff, maybe some sort of news/weather. Scottish drama, comedy, meaningful current affairs programmes need a public broadcaster. The SBC isn’t going to be another BBC.
    Finland, with a population of 5,4m has “free-to-view” 5 public broadcasting (YLE) TV channels, two-three major commercial TV channels, several “niche channels”, then dozens of pay channels. YLE has produced programmes that have been sold to other countries, despite our weird and impossible language – though our Nordic cousins have done rather better (think Borgen…)

  70. lumilumi says:

    And now I notice I’ve posted my rant above in the wrong thread. [facepalm smiley] I blame my ISP for their blackouts and my attention being on the cricket…

  71. Peter Mirtitsch says:

    I must admit, I am impressed by Jackie “naw, really, I am tellin’ ye the truth this time” Baillie, when she goes on about how this dents “Yes Scotland”‘s credibility, and totally ignores a couple of facts;

    a) There is absolutely nothing wrong with paying a consultant for their time. I don’t know of ANY that work for NOTHING!!!
    b) There is no suggestion that the “Yes” campaign were able to influence the content of said article. The consultant even admitted this.
    c) The information which appears to have got out may have been gained by illegally accessing emails…by the Pro Union brigade, by any chance???

  72. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    What a curious outbreak of Wrongthreaditis 🙂

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