I HOPE all readers had an enjoyable time over the festive period and may I take this opportunity to wish you the very best for the New Year.

The Scottish Government has a poor record when it comes to law and order. They have abolished our local police forces in favour of a less accountable single police force and are proposing merging the British Transport Police into it, simply to stop something with British in its title operating in Scotland.

A staggering number of police officers retired in the first six months of the financial year. If this trend continues, the police will have lost a record 650 officers by the end of 2018-19. Moreover, there is also an increased turnover of other police staff.

This record number of departures could pose new safety risks as hundreds of staff with decades of knowledge and experience leave. The SNP have already made cuts to our police stations and vital administration staff, meaning that frontline officers have had to fill these gaps. The SNP needs to ensure that the police will not be damaged by these losses.

On top of these pressures, police are being forced to attend incidents at our courts dozens of times each month. Over the past three years, over 2,000 emergency calls have been received from sheriff courts, including incidences of drug taking and assaults.

This is illustrative of the pressure our sheriff courts are under, particularly since the SNP began a programme of court closures. These incidents put the safety of those in the court building at risk and it is important that our courts service and police force do not have to keep cutting back so they can do the crucial job of delivering justice swiftly and safely.

The Scottish Government has recently launched a new strategy to tackle Scotland's drug crisis. Unfortunately, there are no targets in the strategy, no review of drug-related deaths and no mention of methadone, which is implicated in half of all drug deaths.

More than 1,000 people are likely to die from drug addiction in Scotland next year. After cutting drug and alcohol partnership funding, this strategy is a missed opportunity. This complacent approach from the SNP will mean that lives continue to be destroyed by illegal drugs.

Moreover, the Scottish Government also launched a consultation on prisoner voting in December. They have confirmed that they intend to give prisoners the vote but are seeking the public's views on the appropriate length of term voting prisoners could be serving.

The Scottish Conservatives fundamentally disagree with this approach. If you break the law and require to be removed from society for a period of time, you should not be allowed to vote. Furthermore, there are significant logistical problems with organising prisoner voting. This proposal is yet another example of the SNP's soft-touch approach to justice.

We in the Scottish Conservatives believe that the focus of our justice system should be on the victim – not the criminal. We need a police force and courts that are well resourced and are able to cope with the challenges they are facing. Unfortunately, under the SNP, this is quite simply not happening.