Image by Lynne Connor Photography http://www.lynneconnorphotography.com
2013 was a good year….. for exposing domestic abuse perpetrators… but 2014 has started out less well for those on their tail. That darling of the right and consummate wealth creator the ‘great’ Charles Saatchi and, the now no longer ‘good’, Bill Walker, showed the Scottish public that the occurrence of domestic abuse is no respecter of class, position, celebrity or privilege. However, while Abbas Nikabady, an obsessively jealous man was recently jailed for life at the High Court in Glasgow for the murder of his wife of 22 years Fatemeh Bostani, George Park, an officer with Police Scotland, is still on their payroll. Park served an 18-month sentence for battering his wife Frances and leaving her in fear of her life. Police Scotland are in the horns of a dilemma. Whilst rightly being ‘relentless’ in their pursuit of domestic abuse offenders and showing an extraordinary sea change in the way the Force deals with the issue nationally, they are struggling to square that with their role as the employer of any such offender. The SNP was quick to act in removing Bill Walker from his seat following his conviction, but the Scottish Government were limited in their powers to remove the MSP. Thankfully, Walker resigned from public office. Park however shows no intention of doing any such thing. Police Scotland were hesitant to disclose this tricky internal domestic issue.
Chief Superintendent John Thomson formerly Divisional Commander of this parish now heads up the Force’s Licensing and Violence Reduction Division. Charged with extending Strathclyde’s successful approach to domestic abuse offending nationwide, he recently confirmed that ‘We want to transfer some of the fear that victims experience to perpetrators’. This new victim-centred approach appears to be working well. As victims’ confidence grows, the number of reported incidents and prosecutions continue to rise. Before Christmas, the Chief Constable made it clear that ‘we will do everything within our power to target offenders and bring them to justice’ and ‘we want them to know they have nowhere to hide’. Paying similar close attention to domestic abuse offenders among their workforce would send out a strong message that Police Scotland are willing to set their own sprawling ‘House’ in order (pun intended) and to show, beyond reasonable doubt, whose side they are on.