Putting Local Democracy back into Scottish Policing

At the weekend I put forward plans to inject local democracy back into Scottish policing.

Police Scotland has been on its knees following the centralisation of the force, the use of industrial scale stop and search, armed police, dysfunctional control rooms and excessive top down targets and controls.

There have been serious questions about the effectiveness of the Scottish Police Authority and the removal of local influence and accountability. The Authority has been largely ineffective at holding Police Scotland bosses to account during numerous crises.

Our proposals will make the senior police chief in each of Scotland’s 32 council areas accountable to the local authority, end one-size-fits-all policing, and reform the Scottish Police Authority.

The plan would need the backing of the relevant local authority, a move which would prevent a repeat of the case which saw armed police on the streets of the Highland despite the council's rejection.

We also plan to remove direct ministerial control over the appointment of Scottish Police Authority members with the Scottish Parliament as a whole determining the membership of the Authority on a vote of at least a two-thirds majority, in a similar way to other commissioners.

In addition we want the powers of the Chief Constable to be defined.

We need to return to police by consent where communities feel ownership of the police service in their area whilst pooling resources for specialist units and services.  This will help to restore the confidence of the public and the morale of police officers and civilian staff.   Protecting our civil liberties and keeping us safe are two ambitions for this sensible but radical policy.

You can back our plan today here: scotlibdems.org.uk/policescotland

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