‘As 2018 begins, policing in Scotland is in crisis: no chief constable, a justice minister facing political and legal challenges over his behaviour and a national police authority forced to re-establish its reputation and define its role. A close examination of the structures is urgently needed if this crisis is to be resolved’.
‘Having failed to resolve these differences prior to the Act, as well as a myriad of other problems, the realities of integration are now coming to the fore, while the baton has passed to the SPA. Charged with providing assurance and oversight, the Authority has some exceptionally hard decisions ahead on what is a fiendishly complex project, against a backdrop of rising demand on police services and increasing cost pressure.’
‘To reiterate, our concerns in no way reflect the abilities, experience or skills of Hogg, or other Scottish Government secondees. The issue is the independence of the SPA and the fact that the water between police and government now looks even muddier’.
‘With only eighteen months until integration, the fact that the status of BTP Scotland officers transferring to Police Scotland remains unresolved should ring further loud alarm bells…At this stage in the process, I’d argue that the Scottish Government would do well to take stock and decide what price it is prepared to put on this merger’.
‘The question now seems to be why are these fundamental issues of governance and accountability only now are being exposed, and with such serious consequences? This debate should have occurred before a centralised police force was established four years ago’.
‘The decision to integrate BTP in Scotland may be political; however, the merger is a matter of public safety and public money, and the Government has a duty to demonstrate that it is not taking undue risks with either’. Foremost expert backs calls for merger to be put on hold.
‘The SPA should be made accountable to the Scottish Parliament, not to Ministers, and the appointment of the Chair and Board made subject to cross-party approval. Taking the politics out policing appointments…’
‘Police Scotland’s problems are by no means wholly reducible to parliamentary process. Still, it seems fair to suggest that the manner in which the Bill proceeded through the Scottish Parliament has not helped matters.’ Taking PLOs (ministerial aides) off committees does not alter the lack of proper scrutiny/partisan politics rather than acting in the public interest.
‘It is difficult to see the logic in saddling Police Scotland with more structural upheaval,’ the author argues about the planned integration of British Transport Police. The Scottish Government is wrong to say that the timing is right: it isn’t.
The Scottish Government under the SNP is clear about its ultimate goal but sometimes confused about what are the best policies – and the powers to use. Women for Independence have proposed taking prison off the menu in the lower courts and won strong backing. Will ministers seize this clear game changer?