On the 4th September 2010, I attended the SNP National Assembly in
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
‘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 What he should have done was order tasers to be withdrawn from service, and if anyone was unhappy, their P45 could be found rather quickly at Human Resources.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 “
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
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
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
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.
George LairdThe Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University