Scottish Liberal Democrat Justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP has today called out the Scottish Police Authority for halting public meetings at the same moment as the police have been given unprecedented new powers.
The SPA hold monthly meetings to scrutinise policing in Scotland. These are open to the public and livestreamed via the SPA website. However, in a note published online, they state that as a result of the coronavirus crisis “there will be no facilities for stakeholders or members of the public to observe and attend the Authority or committee meetings”.
Liam McArthur MSP has today written to the Vice Chair of the Scottish Police Authority, David Crichton, to call for this decision to be reversed, as he warned that the unprecedented powers granted to police officers due to the coronavirus crisis made it essential that such meetings are open and accountable to the public.
Commenting on his letter Mr McArthur said:
“Given that both of our parliaments have managed to adapt to using remote video technology, it should not be beyond the ability of the SPA to broadcast these meetings.
“The police have been given unprecedented powers due to the coronavirus crisis. That deserves proper public scrutiny.
“The Scottish Police Authority must ensure that these meetings are open and accountable to the public. We cannot have huge decisions taken behind closed doors.”