Scottish justice secretary ‘open to discussion’ on firework sale ban after Bonfire Night disorder

Niddrie, Edinburgh fireworks disorder
In the Niddrie area of Edinburgh, petrol bombs and fireworks were thrown at riot police

Scotland’s justice secretary has said she is “open to discussion” on a ban on the sale of fireworks to the public following widespread disorder on Bonfire Night.

Police and firefighters clashed with large groups on Sunday – with fireworks and petrol bombs thrown and 21 crimes being committed, Angela Constance said.

The emergency crews came under attack in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee.

The worst disorder took place in the Niddrie area of Scotland’s capital.

A large group of youths and adults gathered on Hay Avenue in a repeat of disorder seen last year in the neighbourhood.

Police said around 50 youngsters were responsible for launching fireworks, petrol bombs and other projectiles at buildings, vehicles and officers.

The force said four officers sustained minor injuries but did not require hospital treatment.

In Glasgow, around 20 youths were reportedly fighting and throwing fireworks within the Quarrywood Avenue area of Barmulloch.

Four people, including a police officer, were taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary for treatment.

 

Police Scotland officers standing in a line in the Niddrie area of Edinburgh
Police Scotland officers swooped in on the Niddrie area of Edinburgh

 

Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland on Tuesday, Ms Constance said she would be open to a ban on fireworks sales, although Scotland does not currently hold the powers to do so.

“I’m open-minded about it, open to discussion,” she said.

“It’s not within our powers for an outright ban, but open to discussion.”

Her comments come in response to Edinburgh City Council leader Cammy Day, who said something would have to change before “someone is seriously, seriously injured”.

Police Scotland said investigating officers do not believe the clashes were spontaneous.

Assistant Chief Constable Tim Mairs said: “Although many of those involved were youths, there were undoubtedly adults involved in orchestrating that behaviour.”

Read more on this story:
Adults ‘undoubtedly involved’ in orchestrating violent clashes

Speaking on Monday, First Minister¬†Humza Yousaf, who criticised the “thuggish” and “reckless” behaviour from those involved, said he would consider such a move if it was within the Scottish government’s powers.

He added: “But it shouldn’t require the government to stop people throwing fireworks at fire officers, stopping them hurling bricks at our police officers – you don’t need legislation to know that that is unacceptable.”

Tam Baillie, former children and young people’s commissioner, said that cuts to youth services in deprived areas could have been a factor in the disorder.

But Ms Constance said: “I would dispute that, but the point that Mr Baillie makes about prevention is an important one and this government continues to invest in preventative services.”

The justice secretary pointed to the CashBack for Communities programme, which redirects funds seized by police under the Proceeds of Crime Act to youth services, and the violence reduction framework as such investments.

Source:  Sky News news.sky.com

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