Thursday, August 20, 2015

Scotland’s unpopular First Minster Nicola Sturgeon sees criticism mount over her botched Government’s handling of Police Scotland, ex SNP leader Gordon Wilson manages in 2015 to get to the same position I had in 2010, a Holyrood Justice Committee needs to have permanent oversight; Sturgeon bottles it on reform yet again

Dear All

On the 4th September 2010, I attended the SNP National Assembly in Perth; unpopular Nicola Sturegon hosted that event. There were various tables laid out with place cards where people could sit down and discuss a topic.

As it happened, I bumped into someone I knew from various by-elections, we chatted for a bit and then he asked me, what are you here for? I said I am here to propose a single national Police Force and Fire Service. He was of a similar view regarding the Police and I said let’s sit down at the same table together and ram it through.

Anyway, the table had a crowd of non-believers, so taking the lead, I shot down every objection they made.

This is what I said:

1/ Local boards would be kept, (this ran to 8)

2/ There would be a national board made up of about 20 people, two from each local board would be sitting on the National board along with some others co-opted in. This was what I termed stage one reform.

3/ There would be a new justice committee set up, called ‘justice 3’ they would have oversight; this would ensure a triple lock of accountability which would enhance the confidence of the public. No member of justice 1 and 2 would be eligible to sit on justice 3.

You can read my thoughts as this is noted on the blog at the time.

When Police Scotland was setup I didn’t think that Stephen House should be appointed as Chief Constable, his appointment has had difficulties. The service was rushed through as the SNP under the direction of Scotland’s ‘jolly fat man’ Alex Salmond cleared the decks for his failed independence bid. Steering the ship onto the rocks was Kenny MacAskill, the worst justice secretary in the history of the Scottish Government. Macskill wasn’t a supporter of the project and it showed by his hands off approach. He would pop up in Police photos standing next to a confiscated drug dealer’s flash car and think he was some kind of rock star.

When the taser issue surfaced MacAskill said it was an ‘operational matter’ the useless git, and did nothing. What he should have done was order tasers to be withdrawn from service, and if anyone was unhappy, their P45 could be found rather quickly at Human Resources. I don’t favour taser use on the public because of the risk of death due to heart attack or seizure.

I don’t entirely blame Stephen House for the mess the SNP created and then walked off to find someone to blame, in the case of VAT issue, this was “Westminster’s fault” rather than their own incompetence. Other bad PR issues were the closure of local police stations and the arming of officers, I favour an armed force; this was part of what should have been stage two reforms in the event of Scotland being independent. Other law enforcement agencies would also fold into Police Scotland in order to save money and be a more integrated law enforcement body.

Now, former SNP leader Gordon Wilson has launched a bizarre attack on Police Scotland calling for the force to be broken up into four distinct regional bodies. Once Police Scotland was formed there would be no going back, the failure isn’t the idea, the failure is the application and changes made by the SNP to claim ‘ownership’ and they are right, they can claim ‘ownership’ of their botched half arsed changes. It isn’t root and branch reform that is needed now, it is leadership.

Federalism is a buzzword in politics at the moment; Wilson wants a reorganisation to a federal system of regional forces. The four regional forces would each have its own Chief Constable and would be overseen by local authorities.

This is nonsense, the way these people are carrying on you would think they were trying to run NASA and put people into space, it’s a police service. Police Scotland would be run by a federal Executive Board consisting of a Chief Constable as executive chair, a Deputy Chief Constable as vice chair, the four regional Chief Constables and a Director of Finance.

So, where is the accountability?

One thing he did get right was the call for the abolition of the Scottish Police Authority; I support this to see Freeman put out on the street along with the SNP ‘leafletter’ who got on the board.

What a joke these two are in my opinion.

And interestingly, he called for National oversight of the police would then be transferred to the Scottish Parliament Justice Committee, my idea of five years ago.

George Laird right again?

In padding out his case, Wilson lists issues that made national news such as the Sheku Bayoh affair and the off road death on the A9, tragic as these incidents are, they are not reasons for abandoning a national police force to his federal model.

These incidents could happen under Wilson’s new setup.

Judging by the response of an SNP mouthpiece it rather looks like Wilson’s proposals will not get an airing, and they should, because some of the nonsense, he spouts regarding direction is unhelpful and should be challenged.

The service will remain questionable until it is fixed, but it looks increasingly likely that this will not happen under unpopular Nicola Sturgeon as she fired a dud into replace MacAskill as Justice Sec.

You don’t hear much from him; perhaps he is hiding in a coal bunkers somewhere trying to think up something to be recognised. 

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University 


Auld Jock said...

Hello George. Hope you are well.

Elsewhere on the net, I found that a tourist (Susan McLean), having been reported missing in May,had been found recently by a team of local volunteers. These 8 volunteers had searched on 2 Saturdays over a 4 week period and found Susan close to where she had last been seen. The police repeatedly claimed to have searched a large area using cadaver dogs over the preceding 3 months. Many speak of the crises in Education and health care. Even snp supporters admit the Sottish "government" is crap. It feels, to me, that Scotland is falling down around the snp's ears. I cannot remember any government, in my lifetime, which was so massively discredited at home and abroad. This one is so appalling, it doesn't resemble any 1st world western democracy I can think of or remember. The party is split, it's intake of new members now turn out to be entryists and the snp neds are being whipped into a frenzy to demand another referendum. I find it impossible to believe that la sturgeon has the ability to hold this timebomb of a party together anywhere near long enough to get another Section 30 Order and, therefore, a further referendum. It absolutely has to be a bubble on the verge of bursting.

Anonymous said...

Oversight is critical to any large organisation. I have similar experience. albeit not within the emergency services, however the same principles apply.

There must be an independent body to oversee the police. This body needs powers which allow unrestricted access - with some exceptions - and the power to raise issues with the Justice Secretary.

The restructuring of the police was rushed in my opinion. As usual, the SNP knew best.

Anonymous said...

usual high standard Georgieboy


G Laird said...

Hi Auld Jock

Nicola Sturgeon has been 'bought off' along with her supporters, don't look for a section 30 order anytime soon because there won't be one coming down the pipeline.

My new post on HMS Artful shows the jig is up on Sturgeon's watch.


Sherbie said...

Great seeing you back again George. Curse the "ratship" that is the SNzP.