Lerwick vandalism ‘clear example’ of need for tougher line against crime, senior Tory says
A senior Conservative has described the vandalism of the Lerwick war memorial as a “clear example” of a need for tougher action against anti-social behaviour.
Shadow justice secretary Liam Kerr has spoken out following the incident, in which the letters “SNP” were sprayed on the granite block.
Candidates in the upcoming by-election from across the political spectrum have united in condemnation of the offence.
The Scottish Tories have trumpeted previous calls for on-the-spot fines for anti-social behaviour to be doubled from the current penalty of £50 to £100 for more serious offences.
They have accused the SNP government of so far resisting attempts to create a ‘two-tier’ system for fines.
But Mr Kerr said it could help dissuade more people from embarking on destructive behaviour.
Speaking during a visit to the isles, Mr Kerr said: “The incident at Lerwick war memorial last week is an example of the type of anti-social behaviour that communities across the country have to suffer.
“The Scottish Conservatives have put forward clear plans to give police the power to impose stiffer penalties on vandals.
“Doubling the fine handed out for the more serious offences would be relatively easy to do and would give officers more flexibility in dealing with this problem.
“It means we can get tougher on the troublemakers who vandalise communities and intimidate their neighbours.
“Increased fines means more crime would be punished, delivering swift justice to low-level offenders who might otherwise be let off the hook altogether.”
Conservative parliamentary candidate Brydon Goodlad added: “Here in Shetland, we are fortunate that we don’t experience the level of crime that other parts of Scotland do.
“However, it is important that our police officers have the tools at their disposal to deal robustly with any incident that does happen.
“I would fully support the creation of a two-tier system if it meant tougher penalties for those who commit serious offences. There has to be a deterrent to this type of behaviour.
“The Scottish Conservatives have held the SNP to account at Holyrood on their failures on policing and justice and I would be delighted to do so on behalf of the people of Shetland after this by-election.”