SPA Chair being “set up to fail”

Responding to confirmation that the former Chair of the Scottish Policy Authority, Prof Susan Deacon, was not included in the initial roundtable discussions on police governance and accountability, Scottish Liberal Democrat Justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP has warned that, without reform, any successor in the post “is being set up to fail”. 

During a meeting of the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Sub-Committee on Policing today, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice confirmed that Prof Deacon had not been invited to the roundtable, saying “I’m more than happy to consider for the next roundtable whether or not Ms Deacon’s involvement would be appropriate.”

On resigning from the Board last December, Ms Deacon said that "the governance and accountability arrangements for policing in Scotland are fundamentally flawed in culture, structure and practice".  

During his appearance at the Sub Committee, Mr Yousaf also announced that the process for appointing a new SPA Chair is now underway.  

Commenting, Mr McArthur said: 

Last year, Susan Deacon became the latest SPA chair to resign, citing fundamental flaws in the governance and accountability of policing in Scotland.  

“At the time, the Justice Secretary dismissed Prof Deacon’s concerns, but then convened a roundtable to consider those very issues. Sadly, he forgot to invite the person who had been sounding the alarm. 

“Mr Yousaf has now agreed to consider inviting Prof Deacon to a future meeting of the roundtable, but it really should not have taken this long. 

The hunt for Prof Deacon’s successor is now underway.  Without addressing the longstanding and legitimate criticisms about police governance, however, the Justice Secretary risks setting up any future SPA chair to fail.”

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