MSPs Launch Review Of Police Scotland

Following five years of Police Scotland and a litany of scandals, MSPs on Holyrood’s Justice Committee are taking stock of the organisation.

The Police Scotland merger took place five years and six days ago, when Scotland’s eight regional police bodies were merged into one - the second biggest police force in the UK after the London Metropolitan. Scottish Fire and Rescue came into existence at the same time in a similar manner.

But the move was criticised by some, and continues to be blamed for an increase in authoritarian policing. There is the perception that the aggressive approach of Strathclyde Police dominates the new body. The leadership has also been plagued by a series of misconduct allegations, which see the service currently searching for its third chief constable, and the Scottish Police Authority on its third chair.

In addition to internal mistakes, there have also been errors on the government end. Blunders from the Scottish Government resulted in the new Scottish emergency services having to pay V.A.T, until the recent Westminster Finance Bill corrected their mistake in return for SNP abstention.

Labour Justice spokesperson Daniel Johnson said:

“It is absolutely right that the committee should look into the Police and Fire Services five years on from the major reform.

“Creating Police Scotland was the SNP’s biggest public sector reform. However, with the force looking for its third Chief - and the SPA on to its third Chief and third Chair - there is considerable turmoil in the organisation. Public confidence in the force is at rock bottom, while police officers and staff clearly aren’t getting the support they need from the SNP government.

“The committee must assess how this turmoil has affected policing and public safety. The SNP Government must acknowledge these issues and their own mistakes to improve Police Scotland over the next five years, rather than the same old intransigence.”

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