Angus & Mearns Liberal DemocratsWorking Year Round for Angus, Mearns & Stonehaven

Nov/14

21

Action on the Laurencekirk Junction ?

By David May

Delighted to hear that our new First Minister said in her first FM questions that she said she had an open mind and would work with other leaders in a consensual way, and wanted to end the ding dong which was prevalent before. She also spoke about the need for a new approach and I hope this will extend to the Laurencekirk Junction as the case for a flyover has been made time and time again, and action is needed before there is another fatality. We have had over 7 years of inaction so I am looking forward to a new approach and action. On Facebook there is posting after posting of problems at the junction and even in the last few days

From:: David May

Nov/14

20

Montrose Stroke Club Display

By David May

IMG_0057

Ceramic art work created by members of the Montrose Stroke Group went on display

Cllr David May attended the Exhibition of the work by the Stroke and Acquired Brain Injury participants across Tayside at Montrose Bowling Club. Cllr May commented” I was delighted to accept the invitation to attend the exhibition and met many in the group and was very impressed with the ceramic work they achieved.”

The exhibition at Montrose Bowling Club. has been made possible by ST/ART, an arts project for Stroke and Acquired Brain Injury participants across Tayside, which is run by Tayside Healthcare Arts Trust (THAT) in association with NHS Tayside.

Participants created a wide range of three dimensional art work using various techniques, including mugs, vases, tiles and sculptures.

Lead artist Fran Marquis and volunteer artist John Burness have been working with the group over the past two months guiding participants to produce a collection of pieces that reflect their own personal interest, whilst also working with them as a group to design a mosaic. This mosaic will be installed in the bowling club where the group meet regularly.

Fran said, “The group were keen to have ceramics again this year and so we agreed that we would give them a similar programme but develop things further with the creation of the group plaque.

“The group have responded so well, making some great pieces and helping John and I work out a design for the final mosaic.”

The project is one of a range of art programmes for people with long term conditions currently being delivered by THAT, which promotes creative engagement to enhance participant’s health and well being.

Chris Kelly, THAT Project Co-ordinator, said, “Fran’s last programme with the group was such a success that they were eager to have her back and develop their skills further. We see people’s confidence grow so quickly when they are engaged properly and creatively. “

Isabel Byers, the group’s treasurer, said “We are very fortunate to be supported by the ST/ART Project and over the years we have had some great programmes. This one will be even more special because we will have something that belongs to the group and shows who we are and where we meet.”

From:: David May

By Sanjay Samani

Sanjay Samani and David May visit damaged footpath

Angus Lib Dems are backing proposals by Angus Council officers to repair the Esk Road Coastal Path in Ferryden. Due to coastal erosion and the resultant safety concerns the very popular coastal path has been closed, for many, many months.

I back the hard work which has been put in by the council to reinstate the previous line of timber wall and path along the section affected by the erosion. I am aware that local walkers will be delighted when the coastal path finally re-opens due to its popularity

Lib Dem Cllr David May said,

“A number of people in the area have spoken to me about this as it is a path much used by local walkers and I have been regularly in touch with council officers for it to be re-opened. However, it has taken them time to establish ownership as well as developing a coastal defence structure which would provide increased protection against further erosion of land, and reduce the risks to the reinstated Core Path, as well as other local assets and infrastructure, including utilities and rail.”

“The good news is that most of the planning of what is needed to reinstate the path has now been done, and the roads staff are now in the position of currently seeking formal consent from the statutory bodies and the landowner to carry out the proposed works.”

See more on this story at the Montrose Review by clicking here

From:: Sanjay Samani

Nov/14

18

High Street Parking

By David May

At the Communities Angus Council Committee meeting one of the reports contained information about a review of Traffic Warden and Decriminalisation of On-Street parking enforcement, and the fact that our council are engaged in a national project to take forward decriminalised parking enforcement. I asked when it was expected that on-street parking enforcement would be decriminalised and I was astonished that it could take up to 2 years.

I spoke about the fact that it was in my view a nonsense that Police Scotland made the decision to lose the traffic wardens as it has led to parking chaos on our high street as some drivers aren parking on double yellow lines, parking most of the day, on corners and in disabled spaces without the cards. I still believe the decision by Police Scotland should have been delayed until the council were in a position to take over parking as we will have huge parking in our high street for up to 2 years.

From:: David May

By Sanjay Samani

Angus & Mearns Select Sanjay Samani as their General Election candidate
Angus Liberal Democrats have reselected me to be their candidate for next year’s General Election. I have campaigned on behalf of Angus residents for many years and as candidate at the 2010 General Election and again at the 2011 Scottish Elections.
It is a real honour to be selected to represent the Angus Lib Dems again and I would like to thank the members for their continued support.
There has been a clear message from voters in every election since 2010. We are all fed up with the the same old politics, where our voices are not heard and we feel we cannot make a difference.
Angus voters made it very clear that we want to remain part of the UK at the Independence Referendum, but also that we want the way we do politics to change. All political parties are committed to further devolution to Scotland and, as a Lib Dem MP, I would work for Home Rule for Scotland.
But that does not go far enough.
Only the Lib Dems are both committed to changing politics and could also be in government to force through the changes we all need. Labour and the Tories have repeatedly blocked change. The SNP cannot and will not be part of the government. The Lib Dems gave you a say on voting change, but our plans for giving you real power to sack your MP, clean up money in politics and having an elected House of Lords have all been blocked, by hard right wing Tories and Labour – desperate to hold on to power.
With only 6 MPs, the SNP cannot make a difference and as they are determined to split our country apart, are not worried about how Westminster is run.
Only with a Scottish Lib Dem can people in Angus be confident that their MP is working for real change to make sure their voice is heard.
Montrose Lib Dem Cllr David May welcomed my selection, saying,
“Sanjay has backed keys campaigns in Angus and in particular the Montrose area. This includes better funding for flood prevention and coastal erosion across Angus and the need to back plans to develop the Harbour here in Montrose. He has backed small businesses, the need to reinstate traffic wardens and backed the need to ban Legal Highs.”
Sanjay has also criticised the SNP for their huge cuts on college places, closure of our police counters and lack of action on a flyover at Laurencekirk.
“Sanjay understands that all MPs should work hard on local issues for their constituents, but that they also need to drive through changes at Westminster so that our views are heard. All too often SNP MPs sit on their hands on Westminster issues because they are only worried about independence. Angus voters gave a huge majority for being part of the UK and they need an MP who can and will deliver more powers for Scotland and clean up politics at Westminster.”
Chair of the Angus & Mearns Lib Dems, Clive Sneddon said,
“Sanjay is a worthy candidate and I am delighted that he has agreed to represent the party again at the General Election. Sanjay has stood up for families working in Angus and the elderly. He will work hard to represent everyone in Angus at Westminster.”

From:: Sanjay Samani

Nov/14

16

Esk Coastal Path

By David May

IMG_6073

“Due to coastal erosion and the resultant safety concerns, the very popular coastal path along Esk Road, in Ferryden has been closed, for many, many months. A number of people in the area have spoken to me about this as it is a path much used by local walkers and I have been regularly in touch with council officers for it to be re-opened. However, it has taken them time to establish ownership as well as developing a coastal defence structure which would provide increased protection against further erosion of land, and reduce the risks to the reinstated Core Path, as well as other local assets and infrastructure, including utilities and rail.

Montrose Lib Dem Cllr May commented “The good news is that most of the planning of what is needed to reinstate the path has now been done, and the roads staff are now in the position of currently seeking formal consent from the statutory bodies and the landowner to carry out the proposed works.”

Lib Dem Angus campaigner, Sanjay Samani added, “I back the hard work which has been put in by the Council to reinstate the previous line of timber wall and path along the section affected by the erosion. Local walkers will be delighted when the coastal path finally re-opens as it is very popular and we will all be very thankful to the hard work put in by Council staff to ensure this happens”

From:: David May

Nov/14

16

Backing for anti bullying week

By David May

Alison McInnes, North East Scotland’s Liberal Democrat MSP, has welcomed Scotland’s national anti-bullying week, an annual event run by Respectme, the anti-bullying service. Anti-bullying week will take place from 17 to 21 November.

Local councillor and former teacher David May commented “I also support the excellent work done by Respectme and the purpose of anti-bullying week, which is to further raise awareness of the damage that bullying can cause and promote the ways in which it can be tackled. It is clear that bullying affects young people from all backgrounds but studies have shown that young lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, ethnic minority and disabled people are particularly at risk.
Lib Dem campaigner for Angus, Sanjay Samani said “Evidence shows that cyber bullying is of greater and greater concern as young people spend more and more of their time online. As the negativity of online bullying can be anonymous and spread so quickly, it can be particularly appalling. I fully back Lib Dem activist Hannah Thompson’s national campaign to support the victims of revenge porn.”

Alison McInnes commented: “National anti-bullying week is a fantastic initiative. Bullying has the potential to ruin a young person’s life causing great psychological harm and often leading to low self-esteem. Additionally studies show that young people who are subject to bullying often fall behind in school, this can cause serious problems later in life.

“I am very concerned at the continuingly high numbers of disabled, minority and LGBT pupils who are subjected to this treatment. All children should feel safe in school, no matter their background.

From:: David May

By David May

Figures obtained by the Scottish Liberal Democrats have revealed that scores of Scotland’s firefighters have been subjected to violent assaults whilst on duty in the past two years. The disturbing revelations, obtained by the party through freedom of information laws, found that 124 assaults on Scottish Fire and Rescue Service firefighters took place between 2013/14 and 2014/15 (up to 30 October 2014).

A further breakdown of the figures shows that there were 42 incidents of verbal abuse and 17 incidents of physical abuse, with the majority (63) of violent acts accounting for objects or missiles being thrown at firefighters.

The figures come only days after a busy Bonfire night for crews from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, who responded to more than 1,100 incidents during a single night.

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Alison McInnes MSP said:

“Our figures show that over the past two years alone Scotland’s firefighters have been subject to over 100 violent assaults whilst on duty. These despicable acts of violence include verbal and physical attacks on firefighters. I’m sure people will be surprised to learn that the majority of assaults were where firefighters were subjected to missiles being thrown at them whilst on duty.

“It is shocking that our firefighters are having deal with violent assaults in their day-to-day work. Their job protecting communities across Scotland is dangerous enough without having to defend themselves against these selfish acts of violence committed by a minority of individuals. These attacks do not just upset the lives of firefighters and their families – they hamper the abilities of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to serve communities effectively.

“Bonfire night often reminds us of how grateful and proud we are of our hardworking SFRS crews. Many will agree that these figures are a national shame which must not be allowed to pass unchallenged.”

From:: David May

By David May

Like Cllr Bowles in today’s Courier, I am also very concerned about what has happened to our local policing as a result of the decision by the Scottish Government to centralise the police with Police Scotland.

It seems that we have lost much of what we used to have such as the closure of police stations, diminished role with travellers, no traffic wardens, less support staff for the police, and much less influence of what our local police do. I am far from sure what the local council police committee now do, as the article from the Courier indicates, they seem to play “no role in the decision-making process ” at local level. Our local police are as ever first class but they appear to have no choice but operate the centralised Glasgow/ Strathclyde model. The local police now have less time to carry out their duties as the jobs the back office staff did, largely have to be done by them. I support Cllr Bowles’s comments that our community model worked very well and it looks as though it is being dismantled. In my view what many be suitable for Glasgow and other parts of Strathclyde does not necessarily work in Angus. In my view Angus has different priorities and local people know best what these are and not a group in the central belt. Furthermore, I cannot understand the reluctance of the police to issue the statistics of the numbers of uniformed police and support staff we have in Angus both now and over the past 5 years. Surely in terms of transparency the public have a right to know.

FRONT PAGE OF TODAY”S COURIER

ANGUS COUNCILLOR SAYS COMMUNITY MODEL OF POLICING HAS BEEN ‘ TOTALLY DISMANTLED” BY POLICE SCOTLAND

By DAMON RHIND, 7 November 2014 3.16pm.

A former detective has claimed that councillors have “no say” in bringing the failures of Police Scotland in Angus to account.

Carnoustie councillor Bill Bowles, an ex-police officer, said policing in the county had been “totally dismantled” and hit out at a lack of power to intervene in crucial decisions.

At the latest meeting of Angus Council Police and Fire and Rescue sub-committee in Forfar, he questioned the very point of the committee when, he asserted, it had no role in the decision-making process.

Chief Superintendent Eddie Smith disagreed, claiming modern policing methods meant the people of Angus were better served than ever before.

Mr Bowles said: “I’m not sure what our role is here and I am disappointed in what we do.

“We have no say in what is achieved, we just get a report and say: ‘Well done — thumbs up’. But I don’t think that. I fear things are worse now than prior to Police Scotland and yet we have no say.”

The committee is responsible for corporate governance, risk management, internal audits and reviews of standards and reviews of standards and levels of council services.

Mr Bowles claimed Angus had a community model that worked prior to the formation of Police Scotland.

“It appears that has been totally dismantled and a lot of people are very unhappy,” he said. “What is our role in all of this? All we’re told are the results and structure — is this what Kenny MacAskill wanted?

“We should have some say.

“In my experience, we once had a minimum of two cops in Carnoustie. That’s gone. Now they’re shared with Monifieth. We are down to half. What if something happens in both places at the same time?”

Mr Bowles wanted to know how many police officers there are dedicated to Angus and what specialist officers are based in the county for the county.

He spoke of how, as a former local CID officer in Forfar, he had a full workload dealing with criminals, networking and building intelligence.

* See more on Angus policing in Saturday’s Courier

“I found crimes that I wouldn’t have found if I hadn’t worked in that way. What specialist officers do we have here now?”

Consistent with police policy, Mr Smith would not specify how many officers he had in a particular area, or what their functions were, for operational reasons.

He said Mr Bowles was comparing apples with oranges if he looked to compare how things were done by Tayside Police and Tayside Division, as part of Police Scotland.

Mr Smith did state, however, that he hoped to place a greater emphasis on community policing in 2015.

He said: “The way we do business has completely changed. We are a local, regional and national resource.

“There is a depth and spread now, with local access to over 2,000 resources. Strategically there are 17,234 officers. We police differently now to how it was done in legacy Tayside.”

The quarterly report that went before the committee highlighted significant reductions in moving traffic offences across Angus, including dangerous driving (down 53%), speeding (down 37%), disqualified driving (down 54.5%), driving without a seatbelt (down 63%), having no insurance (down 21%) and mobile phone offences (down (40%).

Tayside Division now locates its road policing resources at Baluniefield in Dundee, rather than having them based at Angus, Dundee and Perth as they were under the former Tayside Police.

Unlike the national Trunk Road Patrol Group based at Perth, the roads policing resource based in Dundee is not currently a 24-hour operation.

This is set to change, however.

Mr Smith rejected the idea detections for road traffic offences were significantly down in the county because there was a reduced police presence on the roads.

“They are based at Baluniefield for operational reasons — supervision, briefing and debriefing and for more efficient policing. They then go out on patrol across the division and are the same sized resource.

“The reported figures are due to less of a focus on enforcement and more on the opportunity to use discretion. Where it applies and where appropriate, people will receive a warning rather than a fixed penalty notice.

“Our officers are out there and working hard. That is evidenced by the outcomes we have reported and the reductions we have seen in casualties and road traffic incidents.”

Angus councillor says community model of policing has been ‘totally dismantled’ by Police Scotland

From:: David May

By David May

I have had several people making contact me with various issues about the new recycling system. They have realised that the next few weeks there will be teething problems and in my contacts with the officers leading this introduction have been very helpful and have responded directly both to me and the people who raised their concerns with me. It seems that the stickers on the new bins are very helpful as we get used to the new system which will mean in the long run we will be able to recycle more and thus be able to play our own part in making best uses of natural resources.

I still wish our government would meet the supermarkets to reduce the amount of packaging as a great deal of waste is caused by this.

From:: David May

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© Angus and Mearns Liberal Democrats 2011-present.

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