McArthur: "spectacular error" to cut Chief Constable out of the loop


Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP today reiterated the need for the Scottish Government to establish a full expert independent review of police governance following what he described as a “troubling series of events”.

The call comes in response to the appearance of new Scottish Police Authority Chair, Susan Deacon, and Acting Chief Constable Iain Livingstone at the Justice Committee this morning [23.01.2018].

Mr Livingstone told the committee that, despite his asking for updates from the SPA, the body did not inform him of its decision to recall Phil Gormley.

Speaking after the committee, Mr McArthur said:

"To cut the acting Chief Constable out of the loop on whether his boss was returning imminently was a spectacular error of judgement on the part of the former Chair of the SPA. Were he and his colleagues expecting Iain Livingstone to simply arrive at work the next morning to find his chair was taken and the old nameplate dusted down?

"Assurances that this is all in the past are all very well but we’ve been here before.  It seems these problems are been hardwired into the system. Unless the flawed structures are addressed, the SNP Government is setting bosses up for further failures in the future. Officers and staff, as well as the wider public deserve better.

“Liberal Democrats will therefore continue to make the case for an independent expert commission to review and make recommendations for reforming the structure of Scottish policing.”

Commenting ahead of the debate tomorrow on pausing the British Transport Police merger, Mr McArthur said:

“Liberal Democrats previously proposed a delay in implementing any merger of BTP with Police Scotland until the on-going problems facing our national police force had been addressed. 

“Moreover, this is a merger that has been criticised by HMICS for lacking a detailed business case. 

“Given the serious questions that remain unanswered about this latest centralisation of policing, it seems irresponsible for SNP Ministers to plough on regardless.

"Liberal Democrats therefore will vote once again to pause the merger process”.


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