Regular readers know that eventually everyone will come round to the George Laird view; some people however take a considerable amount of time to get there.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill is a disgrace, he should never have been appointed Justice Sec; he is stained by the Al Megrahi debacle and the Justice department is more or less rudderless.
Now, one of Scotland’s most senior former judges former Solicitor General Lord McCluskey has called on Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill to resign.
The tipping point for McCluskey was the routine arming of the police.
McCluskey has accused Mr MacAskill of “unacceptable conduct” and said “he should not continue to hold office as Justice Secretary”.
I have repeatedly said on this blog that MacAskill needs to be sacked, he is utterly out of his depth and inept.
We have seen the increased use of armed officers on routine patrol at traffic stops and I have even witnessed the Police questioning street beggars in Glasgow. Lord McCluskey fears “Americanisation” of Scottish policing. In 2010 when I was an SNP member, I proposed the Scottish National Police Force. This was at the SNP National Asesembly in Perth, under my idea, stage one was the National Force which would have a triple lock of accountability, local boards would be kept; there would be a national board and a new separate Justice 3 committee who would be tasked with oversight. The local boards would delegate two people to sit on the national board plus additional people.
That was stage one, it was an interim stage which reflected the challenges of
In my further idea, stage two, for an independent Scotland, the police would be armed and prior to starting Police training they would be required to complete and pass and basic soldiers test. An independent Scotland would have a small army; therefore it would be logical to have a Police Force who had weapons training. Additionally the Police would have other organizations such as customs and drugs enforcement and border agency staff folded into them.
No independence would mean No armed force.
Chief Constable Sir Stephen House wasn’t my first choice for Chief Constable; that said he hasn’t been bad, however the decision to arm the Police without consultation was wrong, as was the manner they suddenly appeared on Scotland’s streets. The Firearm officers are highly trained, but they aren’t exempt for carrying out normal police duties. When House falls down is the “secretive decision-making” and sailing his own course, this is the fault of MacAskill.
McCluskey has written by MacAskill’s failure:
“Mr MacAskill says he knew about this decision from the time of the single force’s creation in April last year, but did not share that information and launched no public consultation. Here was a policy which could change the face of policing forever, taken behind closed doors, with Sir Stephen privately briefing the minister about a matter which clearly required public debate.”
Although McCluskey has cited the recent US riots in Missouri as evidence of “the dangers of police with guns”, when should remember that Scotland is not America.
“Mr MacAskill has claimed – without any clear evidence and flying in the face of opinion polls – that the ‘vast majority’ of Scots support arming of police officers on routine duties. If this policy is to remain in place, urgent public debate is needed.”
I don’t think that the Scottish public does support the arming of police officers on routine duties on the basis that this measure hasn’t been explained and people tend to favour the status quo. The arming policy is not needed if Scotland remains part of the UK.
The programme that is needed is that all officers should be qualified to carry firearms prior to passing out of the Scottish Police College in Tulliallan, Fife. They should also have to pass a yearly test to retain that status.
An armed Police doesn’t mean Scotland is going to be like the Wild West; but recognition that the army doesn’t have enough personnel and would therefore needs a back up.
Lord McCluskey who was Scotland’s longest-serving judge before his retirement in 2004 also let rip off MacAskill’s blunder when he attacked English judges during a clash with the Supreme Court in London.
I blogged on that farce, MacAskill should have been carpeted on that one, utterly wrong.
Just like he is utterly wrong on the decision to abolish corroboration, the long-established principle of the Scottish legal system that there must be evidence from at least two sources for any conviction!
That leaves the justice system as the gateway to in effect a return to ‘Witchcraft Trials’, someone points the finger and just accuses you. If they tell a good story, better than you a person could get put in prison.
What kind of justice is that?
The people of Scotland are stuck with Kenny MacAskill because Alex Salmond runs his party and government on cronyism.
Former Solicitor General Lord McCluskey took too long to come to his conclusions regarding MacAskill but he did get there in the end, which is something.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University