A statement from New Labour Councillor, Craig R Martin that youths caught with weapons should be treated more sympathetically by the police drew gasps of disbelief from the council committee and a cover up by the pro Labour Falkirk Herald.
During a debate on Criminal Justice the Labour Councillor for Falkirk North, Craig Martin, shocked everyone but the local press with his statement that the police and criminal justice agencies should go soft on youths carrying weapons, including knives.
Despite being asked to repeat his comments, which he did, the local paper, the Falkirk Herald, saw fit to ignore the comments while filling there pages full of news from the Sheriff Court, including examples of weapons being carried and used on a worryingly regular basis.
Both the statement made and the failure to print the story has attracted condemnation from the SNP. Spokesman on Community Health & Safety, Cllr Cecil Meiklejohn, said,
“At a time when the SNP Government are seeking to tackle the blade culture that exists in this country I am shocked and saddened that a senior member of the Labour / Tory Administration should send out such a damaging message.
Craig Martin is an immature politician who hasn’t recognised that the group in society most likely to suffer from youths carrying weapons is other youths.
It is important that we support the government’s bid to change the culture of this country and one important aspect of that process is a zero tolerance towards the carrying of knives and other weapons.
To state that those who break this law should receive a more sympathetic response from the police is just irresponsible which is why I have written to the leader of Falkirk Council, Linda Gow, demanding disciplinary action be taken in this matter.”
There was also criticism for the non appearance of the story in the local paper, two days after the meeting.
Said Cllr Meiklejohn
“You do get the feeling that had an SNP politician made such a bizarre comment in would have been given prominence in the local press.
However, there does seem to be a bias within the printed media that is unfortunate as local people are not being given a balanced picture of what is happening within Falkirk Council.”