A councillor has claimed that people arrested on the west coast are having their human rights violated by being taken to cells miles away from their homes.
People taken into custody on the Western Isles can then end up without any means of getting home after being released from custody and Calum Macmillan, from South Uist, has called for action to address the situation.
Mr Macmillan said he was concerned about the human rights of people lifted by police in places such as Barra, South Uist, North Uist and Harris – who are taken to Stornoway due to a lack of 24-hour cover at certain stations on the islands.
Mr Macmillan claims that when prisoners are discharged from police or court, they can find themselves miles from home in the clothes they went out in – often with no money – and facing two or three ferry journeys to get home.
He said: “It may be that the transfer of people from the islands to Stornoway diminishes the human rights of the person taken into police custody.
“We don’t have 24-hour police cover in many of the islands and rural areas in Scotland.
“If someone is to be held in the cells they can not be held somewhere where no police are on duty.
“I know that the same thing happens elsewhere in the Highlands and Islands – someone from Fort William can end up in Inverness .
“In some cases that means someone arrested in South Uist, or even picked up for simply being drunk, is then taken to Stornoway. When they are arrested they might only be in shorts and T-shirt and have no money with them.
“When they are put back onto the street they are not dressed for the weather and they have no means of getting home.
“There should be more support for people when they are discharged from custody by the police or courts, as they are often vulnerable people who don’t have much money to get home.”
A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said: “While custody arrangements are an operational matter, Police Scotland is obliged to adhere to its standard operating procedure around prisoner transfers.
“The Scottish Government increased funding for the Scottish Police Authority by £42.3 million in 2019-20, meaning the annual policing budget is now more than £1.2 billion.”