SNP bluster exposed as police chief and former SPA chair warn legislation has failed


Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP has repeated his calls for the Justice Secretary to commission an independent review of Scottish policing. This follows comments made by former Scottish Police Authority chair, Prof Susan Deacon during an appearance before the Scottish Parliament’s Public Audit Committee this morning.

Echoing criticisms made by the Auditor General recently, Prof Deacon described failures in governance and a lack of clarity in roles between Government, SPA, Police Scotland and other bodies involved in policing in Scotland.  In calling for a review, Prof Deacon referenced Einstein’s definition of insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

Commenting Mr McArthur said:

“Scottish Liberal Democrats have consistently argued that the SNP’s botched centralisation ‘hardwired’ serious weaknesses in the governance of policing in Scotland. That is a message that Susan Deacon reiterated today, echoing many of the concerns previously raised by the Auditor General.

“It is not good enough for the Scottish Government, as Prof Deacon said, to act as if everything is fine and that there’s ‘nothing to see here’. That is patently not the case, as the growing number of former SPA Chairs and Chief Constables can testify. Simply changing personnel rather than the system within which they are operating is setting those individuals up to fail.

“It is time for the Justice Secretary to take his head out of the sand. He needs to establish an independent commission to look into the governance and structures of policing in Scotland and come forward with recommendations that can begin to address the concerns highlighted by Prof Deacon, the Auditor General and others.

“That is what the public would expect and what overstretched officers and staff deserve”. 


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