McArthur: Senior figures voicing concern about emergency service reforms

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP has reiterated his calls for an independent expert commission to repair the damage the SNP have done to Scottish policing after a study showed concern among senior figures about the impacts of the botched centralisation.

The Scottish Government has today published the latest evaluation of police and fire reform, comprising findings from interviews with "senior representatives" from the police, fire and partner organisations.

The report notes concern that police officers are frustrated at the lack of opportunities to shape change in the service and that divisional commanders do not have “the same decision making or budgetary authority as their equivalents in other organisations”.

There was also concern among interviewees about "the challenges in realising efficiencies", how realistic Police Scotland's savings targets were and that some efforts to achieve them had led to damaging policies such as police officers back-filling support staff roles.

Liam McArthur commented:

"Ministers can't dismiss these concerns, like they have done so often before, because they come from the top of the police and fire services and those organisations that work alongside them on a daily basis.

"It is time the Scottish Government faced up to the mess it has made. But the SNP ministers who oversaw the botched centralisation can't be trusted to fix this alone. What we need now is an independent expert commission to repair the damage, ensuring power is shared and that effective, democratic governance arrangements exist.

"The findings of this report should also motivate Police Scotland and the SPA to get on and conduct the overdue service-wide staff survey. It is time they were listened to, trusted and empowered."

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