“It (review of timetable for BTP merger) needs to be independent, transparent and at arm’s length from government. Oversight by a board that is co-chaired by senior civil servants and reports to Scottish Ministers doesn’t pass this test and would allow the Scottish Government to mark its own homework.
The fact that Gormley had direct oversight of undercover policing at the Met before he became Scotland’s chief constable just adds another curious twist to the ongoing Police Scotland saga. Now his resignation puts to rest one long-running element of what many consider a damning indictment of Scotland’s centralised police force. But lack of institutional reform and the blurring of accountability means further problems will surely not be far away.
‘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’.
‘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.
“Policing 2026 is not an officer reduction exercise, nor is at a ‘time-bomb’. Clearly Scottish policing is facing an eye-watering deficit: around £200 million by 2020/21 at the latest estimate. Still, putting it dryly, there are probably less painful ways to cut costs than devising and negotiating a ten-year national policing strategy.” A welcome shift to forward-looking, evidence-based policing strategy.
“Yet, reading the humbling stories of voluntary groups working hard to assist integration, I am shocked to see one Polish support group refer to the high suicide rate among Polish people in Scotland.” In the week of the Casey Report condemning UK governments’ failure to support intercultural social cohesion, Fay Young finds there is no room for complacency in Scotland.
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?