A po­lice force in cri­sis

Rutherglen Reformer - - WORKING FOR YOU -

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.

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