The number of legally owned firearms in Scotland soars

TEENAGERS as young as 13 have been granted shotgun licences in Scotland – according to Scottish Government figures.

And the number of legally owned firearms and shotguns in the country has rocketed by more than 25,000 in the last 10 years as there are now more than 200,000 legally held weapons in Scotland.

The law allows children as young as 14 hold a certificate for a rifle and use it without supervision and there is no lower age limit for owning a shotgun.

Frank Blake, whose wife Mary, a teacher at Dunblane Primary School, was seriously injured by Thomas Hamilton, hit out at the soaring number of legally owned firearms. He said: “Issuing children of 13 with licenses is madness. What does a child want with a gun?” Continue reading

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MSPs to press ministers for Lockerbie probe

MSPs are to demand a detailed explanation from the Scottish Government of why they oppose an independent inquiry into the conviction of the Lockerbie bomber.

Leading campaigners today (Tue) presented the parliament’s petitions committee with more than 1,600 signatures backing the move.

Members of the Justice For Megrahi group (JFM) told MSPs a full, independent inquiry was the only way to restore the reputation of the Scottish legal system.

Libyan Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who was convicted of the December 1988 bombing, dropped his second appeal and returned to his homeland after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

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Scottish adoption system set for a revamp

By Clare Carswell

THE Scottish adoption system is to be revamped in a bid to increase the number of vulnerable children in permanent homes and make the process more straight-forward for potential parents.

The introduction of a National Adoption Register is to be announced this week as the Scottish Government continue discussions ahead of a pilot scheme due to start next year.

The new register will provide a comprehensive record of the number of children in need of a home and prospective parents in Scotland.

It is hoped that the adoption process will become simplified and encourage more people to consider adopting a child, and boost the number of cared-for-children finding a permanent home.

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Local newspaper round-up

The Fife Free Press:                                                                                                                                                                                           GUNNED DOWN                                                                                                                                                                                                Police continue their manhunt following the murder of Kirkaldy landlord, Mohammed Nadeem Siddique (38) at the weekend.  The father of three, known locally as Toby, was found dead in a Glenrothes flat on Sunday by police who were called following reports of gunshots.                                                                                            

Dunfermline Press:                                                                                                                                                                                                  New buyer for Hyundai                                                                                                                                                                                         Plans of American firm, Zoom Diversified to become the new owners of the the former Hyundai factory at Halbeath have fallen through.  The proposed high-tech solar cell operation with the prospect of creating 1,000 new jobs will not go ahead.

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Scots protest against Westminster financial cuts

MORE than 20,000 people marched through the centre of the Scottish capital to demonstrate against the financial cuts announced in Westminster this week.

The mass of demonstrators, made up of trade unionists, community activists and members of the public assembled on New Market Street, close to the City of Edinburgh Council offices on Saturday.

The Scottish Trades Union Congress marched behind the banner of their campaign ‘There’s a better way’ and voiced their opinion that the £81 billion cuts announced by George Osborne do not favour public sector workers and are not the best course of action for the long-term Scottish and UK economy.

Full story here

Senior officers hit back at claims cash is being wasted at HQ

By Christine Lavelle

SENIOR officers have clashed with the Scottish Government over plans to merge Scottish police forces.

The Scottish Government no longer want eight separate constabularies, nor do they want one super-force, but speculation is growing over how many forces this will mean as the policing landscape of the country gets set for a major change.

The Association of Chief Police Officers has hit back at claims that money is being wasted at the eight HQs.

Chief Constable of Dumfries and Galloway Patrick Shearer, president of ACPOS, said: “What should be stressed is that the current structures are delivering a police service widely regarded as one of the best in the world. Continue reading

Five-fold increase in attacks on NHS workers

By Christine Lavelle

A HUGE rise in attacks on emergency service workers could mean every member of staff is fitted with a personal panic alarm.

Prosecutions for assaults on NHS workers have risen by 542 per cent, and court proceedings increased from 57 to 309 under the Emergency Workers (Scotland) Act, which was extended in 2007.

The statistics were revealed by the Scottish Conservatives who said the “appalling” figures give clear evidence that the problem was out of control.

Nanette Milne, the party’s public health spokeswoman, said it was time to look for “new ways of protecting” Scotland’s emergency workers and called for the use of panic alarms. Continue reading