Scottish Justice Secretary ‘open to discussion’ on firework sale ban as nine hurt

Scotland’s Justice Secretary has said she is “open to discussion” on a ban on the sale of fireworks to the public following widespread disorder which injured nine emergency workers on Sunday.

Police and firefighters clashed with young people with fireworks and petrol bombs thrown and 21 crimes being committed, Angela Constance said.

The worst disorder took place in the Niddrie area of Edinburgh, where police say about 50 youths were involved on Sunday on Hay Avenue in the city, in a repeat of scenes from last year in the same area.

Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland on Tuesday, Ms Constance said she would be open to a ban on fireworks sales, although Scotland does not currently hold the powers to do so.

“I’m open-minded about it, open to discussion,” she said.

“It’s not within our powers for an outright ban, but open to discussion.”

Her comments come in response to Edinburgh City Council leader Cammy Day, who said something would have to change before “someone is seriously, seriously injured”.

Speaking on Monday, First Minister Humza Yousaf, who criticised the “thuggish” and “reckless” behaviour from those involved, said he would consider such a move if it was within the Scottish Government’s powers.

He added: “But it shouldn’t require the Government to stop people throwing fireworks at fire officers, stopping them hurling bricks at our police officers – you don’t need legislation to know that that is unacceptable.”

Former children and young people’s commissioner, Tam Baillie, said on the same programme on Tuesday that cuts to youth services in deprived areas could have been a factor in the disorder.

But Ms Constance said: “I would dispute that, but the point that Mr Baillie makes about prevention is an important one and this Government continues to invest in preventative services.”

The Justice Secretary pointed to the CashBack for Communities programme, which redirects fund seized by police under the Proceeds of Crime Act to youth services, and the violence reduction framework, as such investments.