McArthur: SPA needs root and branch governance review

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP has today called on the Scottish Police Authority to use a new report from the police watchdog condemning its secrecy and weaknesses as the impetus for root and branch reform of the organisation. 

The HMICS Thematic Review of the Scottish Police Authority, published today, highlights a number of failures of governance including the holding of meetings in private and a “dysfunctional” relationship between the SPA chair and chief executive. 

Mr McArthur said: 

“The public will be horrified at this report which highlights once again the culture of secrecy that has taken hold at the SPA. A body that is meant to shine a light on policing matters has been found to be actively trying to prevent issues being scrutinised and ‘played out in the media’. 

“This report amounts to a long list of the SPA’s shortcomings on transparency and openness. Much of this can be traced back to the flawed centralising legislation which the SNP forced through Parliament, which explains why the Scottish Government has been so reluctant to bring forward the changes that are so clearly needed. 

“The SPA must use this report, the criticism from two parliamentary committees and the recent resignation of Andrew Flanagan as the impetus for root and branch reform. An SPA lurching from crisis to crisis is in no-one’s interests.  It is bad news for the officers and staff, who rely on it for support and the public and it is bad news for the public if the SPA is contriving to keep them out of the loop.”

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