Humza Yousaf '˜looking closely' at secure unit provision after William Lindsay death

Justice secretary Humza Yousaf has said he is looking 'extremely closely' at the issue of secure provision following the death of William Lindsay.

Humza Yousaf. Picture: File
Humza Yousaf. Picture: File

The 16-year-old killed himself at Polmont Young Offenders’ Institution in Falkirk within 48 hours of being remanded there, despite having been flagged up as a suicide risk.

It is understood the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA) and Glasgow’s chief social work officer had wanted the teenager to be put in a secure unit, but there were no places available.

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The issue of secure provision was raised at Holyrood yesterday by Labour MSP Pauline McNeill.

She said: “Last week I raised the case of William Lindsay who took his own life while in Polmont on remand.

“Does [Mr Yousaf] agree that the availability of secure places should not be a consideration for the sheriff who’s trying to make a decision about the appropriate disposal?

“The reduction in secure places must surely be a cause for concern. I fully understand there is an investigation ongoing into deaths at Polmont prison, but surely while this investigation is taking place, the Cabinet Secretary should satisfy himself that there are adequate alternatives to prison where appropriate.”

Mr Yousaf said he was looking into the issue of secure provision along with Deputy First Minister John Swinney.

He said: “Can I once again put on record my sympathy for the family of William Lindsay.

“In terms of the availability around secure units, [Ms McNeill] is absolutely right there have been issues over the last few years of capacity or the lack thereof. It’s something that myself and the Deputy First Minister are looking at extremely closely.

“I should be able to say more in the coming days about what we’re looking to do in relation to this.”

He added: “There will of course be a mandatory Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) into the case of William Lindsay, but as the First Minister said at First Minister’s Questions last week, we will not wait for those FAIs to make changes where we can effect change in a positive manner.”