SNP Councillors Slam Lib Dem Hypocrisy

>> 31 December 2010

SNP councillors Allan Hendry (Mid-Formartine) and Rob Merson (Ellon & District) have reacted angrily to Lib Dem criticism of the Scottish Government in yesterday’s Press & Journal ‘Offenders left to ‘kick their heels’’, after it was revealed that offenders in the North and North east have been left waiting almost a month before beginning community service orders.

Commenting, Councillor Allan Hendry said:

“It is hypocrisy on an epic scale that Lib Dem Justice spokesman, Robert Brown, should criticise the Scottish Government for the delay in initiating Community Service Orders - when the Lib Dem/Tory administration of Aberdeenshire Council have already been exposed as being one of the slowest local authorities to implement these orders.

“An article in the ‘Press & Journal’ of 14 th June reported that offenders convicted within Aberdeenshire Council’s jurisdiction spent an average of 442 days completing community service orders lasting between 151-200 hours – more than double the Scottish average.

“I have been in communication with the Council in trying to improve this performance, and I am aware that my colleague, Cllr. Rob Merson, has been in ongoing correspondence with senior officers since March this year. I was therefore disappointed to note that the news report stated that Aberdeenshire Council had not yet responded to a Freedom of Information enquiry.”

Councillor Rob Merson added:

“Cllr. Henry and I have both been pressing the Council to engage more actively with the Community Service Order programme, and suggested that the public would very much appreciate the deployment of such offenders in clearing the snow from our schools, medical centres, hospitals, car parks and other areas not easily accessed by mechanical equipment.

“Hundreds of tonnes of sand have been spread across the footpaths of the North east during the recent snowfall, and offenders serving community service orders could also be deployed very effectively in clearing up the residue before it gets washed into the road drains and causes flooding.

“Clearly Robert Brown would have done well to discuss the situation with his Lib Dem colleagues on Aberdeenshire Council, before so enthusiastically putting his foot into his own mouth.”

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