A police force in crisis
door of Police Scotland’s top brass, but the buck ultimately stops with the Scottish Government and it’s a lesson it would do well to learn.
The deaths of John Yuill and Lamara Bell in the M9 crash last month were all the more tragic because the warning signs were ignored time and time again.
Opposition MSPs from all parties expressed serious doubts about plans to close control rooms across Scotland as part of a centralisation of services.
But the closures went ahead regardless because they realised “the most business benefits” for the force.
What followed were high sickness rates and thousands of hours worked in overtime, not to mention tens of thousands of working days lost at Police Scotland due to stress.
And ultimately, two people were left lying by the side of the road for three days after officers failed to respond to a 101 call.
It is becoming increasingly clear that this is a police force in crisis.
It’s not fair on rank-and-file officers who have dedicated their lives to keeping our local communities safe. It’s not fair on the police staff that supports them.
And it’s not fair on the public, which has lost confidence in Scotland’s policing.
So let’s go back to basics. The Scottish Government needs to step up and stop passing the buck.
Earlier this year, the Scottish Conservatives called for a wholesale review of the oversight of Police Scotland and I want to make that call again.
The single force needs greater transparency, more local accountability and less centralisation.
The public’s confidence needs to be restored in the system.
And the SNP Government needs to honour its commitment to work with opposition parties to make Scotland’s policing work.
This is the Scottish Government’s last chance saloon where Police Scotland is concerned.
Let’s get it right this time, before tragedy strikes again.