The Scottish Socialist Party is today disappointed and dismayed by the Scottish Government’s commitment to retaining the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act.

In the University of Stirling report and statistics into the effect of the Act, it showed that conviction rates since introduction in 2012 are as low as 22% with only 143 convictions from 664 charges in relation to section 1 of the Act.

In addition, only 16 of those resulted in a football banning order, highlighting the highly disproportionate response from Police Scotland in the implementation of this Act to what are often petty and low-grade offences, if an offence has occurred at all.  The threating communications part of the Act has also only seen 36 people charged, with a mere 15 of these, less than half, coming from a football related incident.

Liam McLaughlan, SSP Executive Committee member added “This report proves what football fans, community campaigners and even members of the judiciary know all too well, this Act has been a disaster since implementation. The low levels of convictions only tell half the story. “

“The traumatic effects of being charged and dragged through the courts as a result of this Act  in particular for  young, working class football fans is dreadful, something the SNP would know if they either sent a representative along to any FAC meetings  or were willing to debate and review this issue in the proper, transparent way in parliament that was promised back in 2012. “

“The SSP stand alongside FAC and others campaigning for the immediate repeal of this illiberal, unworkable legislation. Like members of the judiciary, we too think it is mince.”