McInnes presses for government debate on Police Scotland
Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokeswoman Alison McInnes MSP will this week press for a full debate on the operation of Police Scotland during government time at the Scottish Parliament.
Her call comes following revelations that Police Scotland officers broke the law and spied on journalistic sources, a critical report from HMICS on call handling, a staff survey which revealed just 15% of staff feel valued for the work they do, and scandals over stop and search data.
Ms McInnes has pointed out that there have been no full debates on Police Scotland in government time since the creation of the single force. She warned today that this can only hamper scrutiny of the impact of the SNP’s justice reforms on policing.
Commenting, Ms McInnes said:
“The creation of Police Scotland was the biggest shake up of policing in Scotland for a generation and the consequences for people in communities across the country have been enormous.
“In recent weeks, Police Scotland officers were found to have illegally spied in an effort to uncover journalistic sources. We have seen hugely critical reports on call handling services that say staff are under enormous pressure. The first Police Scotland staff report found one third of officers say they are planning on leaving the force. The list goes on.
“It beggars belief that at no point since the creation of Police Scotland have SNP Ministers scheduled no debates on the operations and administration of the police in government time.
“Before the referendum we had debate after debate in government time on an economic manifesto that has since been disowned by one of the authors of the independence white paper. Since then we have seen SNP Ministers spend hours in the chamber discussing matters which are wholly reserved to the UK Parliament.
“The structure of our police force is a devolved issue. The funding of our police force is a devolved issue. The role and responsibilities of our police officers are devolved issues. It is time that the SNP stepped up to the plate and were held accountable for their record on policing. We need to have a full debate on the operations of Police Scotland in government time.
"Given recent events, if the Justice Secretary put down a motion there is a real chance that the government would lose the vote. The suspicion is that SNP ministers are running scared of their own record on policing."