Too many people in East Ayrshire have had their lives disrupted, or even destroyed, by criminal acts.

The least that victims and survivors of crime deserve is to receive some degree of closure through the knowledge that their offender has been punished.

But I regularly hear from constituents who are struggling to get justice in Scotland's broken justice system because it has been hampered by flawed reforms and a huge court backlog.

There are few things more infuriating than seeing good people becoming the victims of violence or other mindless crimes, especially when their offenders are allowed to get away with it.

So I am pleased to have the opportunity to hold the government to account and seek to overhaul the broken parts of the system in my new role as Shadow Minister for Justice and as a new member of the Scottish Parliament Justice Committee.

I have heard for many years about the problems frontline officers face when seeking to apprehend criminals. 

I believe there is a real opportunity to make positive changes to our justice systems so we can give police officers the support they need to crack down on crime, while also putting victims first and delivering a stronger justice system that prevents crime in the first place by acting as a deterrent.

We need to support our police force by addressing the challenges they face daily. Crumbling police stations need immediate attention. We must also boost frontline morale by providing officers with more mental health support and restoring police numbers so that they are not stretched to breaking point.

That way, the police will be able to get on with the day job and tackle issues such as the major increase in dangerous driving that we’ve seen over the last ten years in East Ayrshire, making our communities safer for drivers and pedestrians. 

I also hope to find ways to change the justice system so that it provides victims with more transparency and respect during the court process.

But first, I will be insisting that the SNP Government put forward credible proposals to clear the court backlog as quickly as possible. Victims in Ayrshire and across Scotland cannot wait years to receive justice.

Those are the key priorities that local people in East Ayrshire have told me they want to see the SNP Government focus on. I hope they will listen and deliver the system that police officers and survivors of crime need.