Our Common Future | Our Society


An effective police service must be community-based, enjoy public support and reflect the people it is responsible for keeping safe. The Scottish Greens are committed to understanding and addressing the root causes of crime. We recognise that this means tackling the enormous inequalities that scar our society.
We support policies that genuinely reduce crime, including locally-accountable policing, effective crime prevention, well-resourced diversions from prosecution and robust community-based alternatives to short prison sentences which are overwhelmingly shown to be much less effective at reducing re-offending and delivering rehabilitation.

Green Impact

Scottish Green achievements in the last 5 years include:

  • Delivered the Equal Protection Act, ending the physical punishment of children, giving young people the same protection from assault as adults
  • Prevented the use of facial recognition technology by Police Scotland, protecting basic human rights
  • Successfully campaigned against routine deployment of armed officers


Every police officer in Scotland should be subject to democratically elected oversight and Scotland’s single police service must be locally accountable.

The Scottish Greens will:


Scotland is one of the few jurisdictions in the world with a three-verdict system in criminal trials, i.e. guilty, not guilty and not proven. In practice there is no legal difference between a not guilty and not proven verdict and this raises the question of the merits of retaining both verdicts. The not proven verdict is disproportionately applied in crimes of a sexual nature - 35% in trials for rape or attempted rape compared with 17% in other cases. In line with our rights-based approach to policy making, the Scottish Greens will support the abolition of the ‘not proven’ verdict and a thorough review of jury numbers and the majority required to secure a conviction.


The Scottish Greens believe any use of force should be proportionate and used as the last resort in any situation. We are extremely concerned at the use of so-called ‘spit hoods’ - mesh hoods used on suspects in incidents of assault by spitting - which have been used on children and individuals with suspected mental health problems. Their use risks restricting breathing and can cause extreme distress, and evidence suggests that they do not protect Officers from disease transmission; their principle justification. The Scottish Greens support Amnesty International’s call to stop issuing spit hoods to police officers.


We will fight for the decriminalisation of sex work to ensure sex workers are legally protected from exploitation, trafficking and violence and have improved access to support and healthcare.


The Scottish Greens believe we need to do much more to tackle endemic sexual harassment and violence against women in Scotland. We will develop a strategy that effectively prevents and responds to violence, and that centres the needs and concerns of survivors. At its heart will be a focus on education, through ensuring the delivery of high quality consent based relationship and sex education, training and information campaigns, and on ensuring public services better respond to survivors of abuse.

We support reform of the criminal justice system so that it better works for survivors, and will create a Victims Commissioner for Scotland to represent the interests of victims and to drive improvements and innovation in the justice system.


The ongoing failure, by police and prosecutors, to address the shameful illegal wildlife persecution in Scotland requires much stronger enforcement. The widespread illegal killing of birds of  prey, for example, continues with impunity, and the Scottish Government’s own research has found large numbers of golden eagles disappearing in suspicious circumstances. Yet detection of these crimes is rare and prosecutions even rarer. The Scottish Greens believe Police Scotland could do much more.

We will:


Support victims

  • Increase funding for victims’ groups, specifically Scottish Women’s Aid and Rape Crisis Scotland, along with other groups providing women and girls support and advice services.
  • Ensure funding is available to TARA-the Trafficking Awareness Raising Alliance who provide assistance to the increasing numbers of trafficked persons.

Support prison reform

  • Support a presumption against short sentences, and increase funding for the rehabilitative alternatives to custody.
  • Withdraw Crown immunity from prisons to ensure accountability.
  • Introduce special provision for offenders who are mentally ill and for women who are pregnant or have young children, so that imprisonment is a last resort and specialist support is in place.
  • Improve living conditions for prisoners by bringing forward a framework of rights.

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