Lawyers raise concerns over police plans to remove domestic abusers from homes ahead of Old Firm match

Thomas Ross

Police Scotland is to remove domestic abusers from their homes during the Old Firm match on Sunday, The Herald reports, prompting concern from criminal law practitioners.

The single force said it will begin removing potential abusers from tomorrow and will also issue warnings.

The Times has reported officers will target those awaiting trial for assault as well as those released on license from prison with strict conditions.

President of the Scottish Criminal Bar Association, Thomas Ross, told Scottish Legal News: “The Scottish Criminal Bar Association is firmly in favour of Police Scotland doing everything in it’s power to keep domestic abuse victims and their children safe - but the police must act in accordance with law.

“We are concerned with the suggestion that citizens awaiting trial for assault will be targeted. Such people are presumed to be innocent - if the police have no reasonable grounds to suspect that bail conditions are being breached, then they have no power to deprive these citizens of their liberty.

“The same can be said of citizens who are complying with licence conditions upon release from prison. If the press reports are accurate then the insurers of Police Scotland should brace themselves for many claims for compensation for wrongful deprivation of liberty.”

Police figures from 2011 show that domestic abuse incidents rose by 138.8 per cent on Saturdays during Old Firm matches.

On Sundays the increase was 96.6 per cent and on weekdays it was 56.8 per cent.

Speaking to The Times, detective chief inspector Sam McCluskey, said: “What we’re trying to do is keep domestic abuse victims and their children safe. To do that, rather than managing the risk by just going out to attend incidents, we are trying to remove the risk by removing the perpetrator.

“What we’re going to try and do this time is capture some information around it that will be data that will allow us to actually measure whether or not it was related to the game, because now, we don’t know that.”

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