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SNP should take heed of Stillars' intervention on single police force

September 10, 2012 4:48 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have welcomed comments made by former SNP deputy leader Jim Sillars on the SNP's police centralisation plans. Jim Sillars raised concern at the lack of opposition by SNP MSPs to issues of civil liberties and concentrated power in the state when passing the single police bill.

Commenting, Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Alison McInnes MSP said:

"I'm glad that Jim Sillars has come forward and raised his concerns about the creation of a single police force in Scotland. As a respected SNP stalwart I hope his views will resonate with some SNP members about their approach at Holyrood.

"Police reform is one of the most far-reaching bills that this Parliament has dealt with, yet SNP back-benchers were singularly reluctant to take a proactive role in its scrutiny.

"While opposition members of the Justice Committee were tabling constructive amendments aimed at protecting civil liberties and ensuring transparency - all voted down under direction from the Government - SNP members were more concerned about making sure that the police force's Gaelic name was enshrined in law.

"Liberal Democrats argued forcefully against the single police force for the very reasons Jim Sillars mentions. The plans go against all of Scotland's values of liberalism and localism.

"Placing so much power over the police in the Justice Secretary's hands is a huge mistake, and people across Scotland should be rightly concerned that the SNP's harmful centralising agenda is being pushed through by a governing party whose members remain either unable or unwilling to challenge their leaders' assertions."