Speaking after today's votes on the conduct of the Justice Secretary and the integration of the British Transport Police (BTP) into Police Scotland, Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP said the Scottish Government is setting itself up for further failures of police governance.
On BTP merger, Mr McArthur said:
“The government’s plans were described by the independent police regulator as lacking a detailed business plan. We have also seen BTP officers and staff expressing serious and understandable doubts about whether they see a future for themselves in the newly merged operation.
“It seems the only thing over which there is clarity at the moment is the government’s pig-headed determination to carry on regardless. For years, SNP Ministers have had an agenda to disband the British Transport Police in Scotland. For months they have tried to come up with a justification and a way of making it work and they have fallen short.
"They should have taken this chance to pause a merger that will disrupt a system that is operating efficiently. Ministers are setting themselves up for trouble."
On the Justice Secretary, Mr McArthur said:
"While the Justice Secretary was sensible to ask questions, Parliament has today rightly condemned the secrecy surrounding his actions. It was wrong not to tell MSPs for weeks what had gone on and, even then, only after it had been exposed in the media.
"There is a way for the Justice Secretary to dispel the lack of confidence in the structures governing policing in Scotland. It is now clear that there would be cross-party support were he to establish an independent expert commission and ask it to make proposals to improve accountability, transparency and localism."