JUSTICE, LIBERTY AND PRIVACY

Current criminal justice policy in both London and Edinburgh fails to address the causes of crime, and in fact criminalises many people without good cause, especially young people. Authoritarian gimmicks on crime have failed, yet other political parties simply offer more of the same.

We reject this, and want to take a restorative justice approach to address re- offending, aiming to reduce crime and the prison population by meaningful community-based sentences including reparation. We want children’s panels properly resourced and an end to the current obsession with ASBOs and other ‘preventative orders’.

Prison is necessary to protect the public from those who pose a genuine threat to the public, but our prisons are more stretched and overburdened now than they have ever been. Locking up ever more people for longer terms does not make society any safer. A new approach is needed.

At the same time, civil liberties have come under attack like never before. This undermines efforts to build a Scotland without fear where people feel part of an inclusive community. The attack on liberty must be resisted, and we need fresh debate on how to protect freedom and privacy in the digital age.

Scotland and the UK are far too quick to use surveillance instead of addressing the reasons why people feel unsafe in their communities. Technologies like CCTV have a place, but they’ve been allowed to grow out of all control and without clear boundaries.

We will continue to campaign against the ‘database state’, including the UK Identity Card and Identity Register, the routine retention by police of innocent people’s DNA, and biometric identity systems in schools.

We will limit anti-terror legislation to what is both fair and effective. We will make sure Scotland’s Human Rights Commission is strong and independent, to protect and uphold the European Convention on Human Rights.

We are deeply concerned about the power being taken by government and the private sector over people’s online activity, and we believe that a new approach is needed to issues like copyright, patents, file-sharing and the protection of personal data. Government should put the interests of citizens first, not serving the commercial interests of big business. Many of our members are advocates of the Free Software Movement, and we believe that the principles which underpin it have wider application in society.