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2 January 2019, 07:41
Doubling on the spot fines for anti-social behaviour would help police deliver "swift justice" to low-level offenders, the Conservatives have said.
The party is calling for Police Scotland to have the power to increase the fines from the current £50 to £100.
Creating a two tier system, where the higher level £100 charge would be applied for more serious offences, would give officers more flexibility to deal with more minor offences such as vandalism and breach of the peace, Tory justice spokesman Liam Kerr said.
Applying a higher penalty would allow the police to "get tougher on the troublemakers who vandalise communities and intimidate their neighbours", he claimed.
The Conservatives insisted the move would not increase the amount of offenders who are dealt with without being taken to court, stressing on the spot penalties would only be applied to more minor offending.
But with officers dealing with about 1,000 reports of anti-social behaviour a day, Mr Kerr said the police needed more options.
He added: "Doubling the fine handed out for the more serious anti-social behaviour offences would be relatively easy to do, and would give officers more flexibility in dealing with this problem.
"It means we can get tougher on the troublemakers who vandalise communities and intimidate their neighbours.
"This isn't about allowing dangerous criminals to dodge court.
"But increased fines means more crime could be punished, delivering swift justice to low-level offenders who might otherwise be let off the hook altogether.
"It would be up to police when to impose this stiffer penalty but, from speaking to officers, we know they feel some of the more serious offending warrants a tougher punishment."