IT is always frustrating when there is a massive media focus on a tragic event, but commentators fail to look at the evidence. There is certainly a problem of male violence, but in relation to homicide and serious violence, it is male on male violence which is the most frequent.

In 2019-20 Scotland had 64 homicides, with 45 male victims and 19 female; 92 per cent of the accused were male. Two-thirds of the deaths took place in residences. The home is more of a threat than the street, which makes the idea of keeping men off the streets and at home particularly absurd ("Let’s look at banning men from the streets after 6pm, says MP", The Herald, March 15) . Thirty-seven per cent of women were killed by a partner or an ex-partner.

The fact that males are more prone to violence across history and across cultures although to very differing degrees does not make men bad and women good. Many men are kind and altruistic and many women are not always kind and altruistic. The reason for greater male proneness to violent responses are likely to be partly evolutionary and partly cultural. But we know that change can happen and that in our social interactions, we are less violent than in many previous historical periods and in comparison to many other contemporary societies. Opinion without facts is generally not the best basis on which to conduct debate.

Isobel Lindsay, Biggar.


I’M not sure whether we are in what used to be called "the silly season", but it looks like it. There are suggestions that men should be placed under a 6pm curfew in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard. Applying this to all men seems draconian. Why not make one big exception, reminiscent of the days when cinemas and shops carried a notice: "Unaccompanied minors are not permitted entry"? We could allow men to be out and about in public if accompanied by an adult female.

As if it isn't bad enough being under Covid lockdown, and having Yousaf’s Hate Crime Bill now in force without imposing further restrictions on us. It doesn’t take a genius to work out the effect a curfew for men would have on already horrifying rates of domestic violence.

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh.


LIKE all decent people, I was disturbed by the murder of Sarah Everard. The vigil, however, in breach of Covid-19 regulations has raised questions in my mind ("Online organiser vows women will be holding vigils when legal curbs lifted", The Herald, March 15). Am I failing by not feeling a responsibility to demonstrate at the increasing number of serious assaults on the elderly in their own homes; increasing unprovoked assaults on young people in our city centres; and increased knife carrying (is it time to bring back Judge Cameron's sentence approach of 70 years ago, on Glasgow razor thugs)?

The secular society has brought much to be valued, but respect, I suggest, is a victim of our self-interest and social media's mania for popular "instant" demos.

James Watson, Dunbar.


HAVING seen the mass gathering at Clapham Common for Sarah Everard I was disappointed that as ever the police are in the firing line.

I could have accepted the complaints of heavy-handedness if the vigil had been peaceful, but it wasn't. There was, as always, a faction in the crowd which turned this peaceful vigil into an almost uncontrollable mob. The police are there to upload the law and during this pandemic social distancing should be observed. This was not a legal gathering.

In this day and age with cameras and mobile phones the police are constantly being monitored and only the controversial elements are recorded, giving a very one-sided view.

It's about time the police were able to get on with their job without the constant confrontation we see wherever crowds gather.

Why have a police force at all if they cannot carry out their duties? Would we prefer anarchy?

Neil Stewart, Balfron.


WELL that’s one thing clarified. If, as at Ibrox, thousands gather in breach of Covid restrictions and probably help spread the virus, and the police do nothing, they’ll be roundly criticised. If, as in London, the same thing happens and the police eventually intervene, they’ll be roundly criticised. Talk about a thankless job.

The most impressive thing has been the agility of politicians who have leapt from one bandwagon to another passing rapidly in the opposite direction. I’m reminded of the quote ascribed variously to my favourite Marx, Groucho, and several politicians: “Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others."

The police aren’t perfect, nothing on this Earth is, but they are regularly confronted by complex events where they have very little time to assess the situation and decide on a course of action. Much easier to comment after the event from somewhere quiet, safe and comfortable. It would be good to have a little less condemnation and a lot more understanding, and that’s something that would be beneficial in many of the controversies that dominate the media these days.

Doug Maughan, Dunblane.


WHAT a sign of the times and a sign of our declining society. It seems that if you are male and a football supporter (or a football hooligan) you can gather in large numbers and you are immune from police action. However, if you are female and in London and attending a perfectly understandable vigil, you are liable to be thrown around

Talks and planning from the authorities and the vigil groups could have avoided all this. A very bad example for all young and aggressive males.

It is unfair to blame the police out of hand; in other parts of the country there was no problem. There does seem to be a particular problem with policing in the London area, however.

Graham Noble, Fort William.


WOULD I be right in saying that the handling by the Metropolitan Police, of the peaceful, sober, and, more importantly, non-destructive, vigils in memory of Sarah Everard, was somewhat very different from the non-handling by Police Scotland of Rangers fans' celebrations in George Square? My eyesight is not what it once was, but if I saw correctly, perhaps swapping police forces may be the answer.

Patrice Fabien, Glasgow.


CHIEF Supertindent Carle’s overly defensive letter (March 13), which appeared to be a list of reasons for police inaction in Glasgow last weekend together with an effort to defend senior officers who have been understandably silent on the events of the day, caused me to reread Brian Murphy’s letter of March 11.

The latter’s observation about some senior officers, usually fast-tracked graduate entrants, lacking in operational experience is accurate and dates back to when it was thought circumspect to copy the military and attract those who had university degrees into the police service and to fast-track them to the top.

Chief Supt Carle talks about how public order policing has been transformed in recent years and highlights the rights of the individual, intelligence and the particular difficulties encountered on the day.

Restricting a person's liberty has always been a concern to police officers, it is basic to the job. As far as intelligence is concerned, every football fan in Scotland knew that if Celtic didn’t beat Dundee United on that fateful day Rangers fans were going to congregate outside Ibrox, so Police Scotland had plenty of time to formulate a plan and had the support of the legislation created because of Covid to support its actions.

Although the chief superintendent talks the talk about public order I doubt that it has changed dramatically over the years. Fundamentally you have a group of people wanting to do something that is at odds with good order and which interferes with the peaceful lives of the rest of us.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the situation I can assure you (from experience) that many senior officers of yesteryear would not have allowed matters to develop the way they did on that fateful day.

W Macintyre, East Kilbride.

Read more: Hard lessons have led to public order policing being transformed