Saturday, May 28, 2011
Scottish Police chiefs back 'single force' for Scotland, as well as reform we need major expansion of Special Constables roles in force
9 months ago I went to the SNP National Assembly in Perth, the reason for the Assembly was to bring forward ideas of how to make Scotland better.
So, I trotted in and sat down at the public service table and as luck would have it I met someone I knew so he asked me:
“What are you doing here?”
I replied I am here to propose that there should be a single national Police Force in Scotland.
Being like minded he was there to do the same thing so I said lets sit down and ram this through.
And that is what we did, we came, we argued and we conquered.
Two months later Labour MSP Iain Gray jumped on the bandwagon and four and a half months on January 12th 2011, the Scottish Government came out in favour as the preferred option.
But in reality the national force is the only serious option.
Now, Chief Superintendent David O'Connor of police signing their own search warrants fame has jumped on the bandwagon as well.
O’Connor says he wants to see an end to "negativity and scaremongering" in the debate on the future of Scottish policing.
The negativity and scaremongering comes from two camps, Labour Councillors who will probably lose money from sitting on Police Boards and Chief Constables of lesser forces who say that local accountability will be lost.
I believe that in the interests of the new force, slight compromises must be made.
So, in order to achieve this certain things must happen.
There should be:
A national board
Local boards for accountability purposes between Police and Public
Local board members eligible to sit on the national board plus externals
And payment for those sitting on the local or national boards
This will smooth out some difficulties.
O'Connor who is president of the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents (Asps) said:
"The election is over, the new Scottish Government is in place, and now is the time to get down to business. I hope we will see an end to the negativity and scaremongering in the debate on the future of Scottish policing."
"The majority of Asps members support a single force. Even with significantly enhanced collaboration between the existing eight forces, the service is not sustainable. Similarly, we do not believe that moving to a rationalised regional model would deliver the level of savings and improved outcomes that would be available in a single service. More importantly, if we are going to change we should do it only once. We do not want the cheapest service, we want the best."
O'Connor’s final pitch was:
"A single police service would mean that policing would be directed nationally, but delivered locally. Our members recognise that the boundaries of organised crime are more likely to be national and international and we need to respond accordingly."
By ending fiefdoms there will be a greater pool of knowledge and expertise in the one force, coupled with less duplication, which in turn equals less expenditure and bureaucracy.
Allowing savings to be ploughed back into the front line!
And there is now a need going forward for wider public sector reform which must come, the status quo under Labour Government and Labour Councils has delivered poorly designed organisations which don’t innovate only manage.
And badly at that, I don’t support change for change sake, that would be pointless but reform must happen, the public sector must deliver for their clients and new management brought in to create wealth not just spend it.
Public sector should mean profitable public sector, that way we can deliver our pledges and protect jobs.
Finally, on the national Police force, there needs to be a considerable expansion of the Special Constable arm of the Police which has been woefully neglected in order to make a stronger bond between Police and Communities.
That was the other part of my vision of the Scottish National Police Force, George Laird radical thinking.
Sooner or later, everyone will climb onboard with that idea as well.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University