‘Courts should dispense justice more quickly’

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everyone agrees our police officers should be focused on fighting crime rather than getting tied up with non-essential tasks or red tape.

But the staggering 13,000 arrest warrants issued in Lothian and Borders each year offers a depressing glimpse of the day-to-day reality.

An inordinate amount of police time is spent chasing people who fail to turn up to court – often because they don’t care enough or their chaotic lifestyle means a 10am court appearance is beyond them.

If police spend just two hours on each, that is enough to take 15 fulltime officers off all other duties.

So what can be done to tackle this growing problem, and increasing drain on the force’s ever limited resources?

People who fail to attend court, of course, must be brought to book.

But surely we wouldn’t be facing this level of problems if cases were dealt with reasonably quickly in the first place, without defendants having to be bailed time and again.

The wheels of justice often rumble on for months – and sometimes years – even for relatively straightforward crimes.

In an ideal world, someone arrested on a Saturday night would be dealt with on a Monday morning. We know there are good reasons why it is not always that simple, but does our court system really need to be as complicated as it is right now?

The sentencing of many of the rioters in cities south of the Border shows that it is possible to dispense justice quickly when we put our minds to it.

Sharing Hogmanay

there is a delicious irony in one of Glasgow’s finest, Primal Scream, headlining at the Capital’s Hogmanay celebrations this year.

For the annual shindig is being seen as a golden opportunity for the city to steal a march on our west coast rivals following the demise of their New Year celebrations.

Street party organisers believe they can capitalise on Glasgow’s decision to axe its annual bash in George Square as a cost-cutting measure.

It’s certainly true that Edinburgh should be better placed now than it has been for a few years to attract revellers from right across the central belt.

Hopefully, it will all add up to a fantastic – and money-spinning – New Year party in “the home of Hogmanay”, vindicating the city council’s decision to keep supporting our event.

But if our street party cannot make a profit this year, then it will be time to accept that it never will.