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McInnes: Police agreement a 'ticking time bomb'

April 2, 2013 9:00 AM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Speaking ahead of the launch of Scotland's new single Police force onAlison McInnesAlison McInnes Monday 1st April, Scottish Liberal Democrats warned that the agreement between the Chief Constable and the Chair of the Scottish Police Authority is a ticking time bomb.

Scottish Liberal Democrats previously urged the Scottish Government to bring in legislation to clarify the roles and responsibilities between the two bodies, after disputes over who was responsible for staffing played out in the Scottish media.

Scottish Ministers have refused to bring in legislation and have instead supported the forming of a justice subcommittee, but it's a poor substitute for real local democracy. Scottish Liberal Democrats have issued a stark warning that this will be bad news for policing in Scotland.

Commenting, Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Alison McInnes said:

"The launch of Police Scotland is the single biggest change to our police in a generation. Yet as officers around the country don their new uniforms, there are still far too many unanswered questions.

"Kenny MacAskill rushed his plans for the new force through Parliament - grabbing hold of extra powers as he went. But it's already coming back to bite him. Ongoing disagreements between the Chief Constable and Police Authority have threatened to derail the new force even before it began.

"We're now left with an uneasy truce, brokered by the Justice Secretary. But it's a ticking time bomb. Somewhere down the line, fundamentally opposite views on how the force should be run are going to resurface. And when they do, it will be bad news for policing in Scotland.

"For my part, although I have always been against the idea of a centralised police force, I want to do what I can to help make sure that Police Scotland succeeds. It's good news that Holyrood has finally agreed to establish a Policing Subcommittee. It will have an important role to play over the coming months in monitor.

"We've got to remember though, that Parliament has no actual powers to hold the Police or the Authority to account. The Government has ripped the democratic accountability out of Scotland's police."