31 Jul 2015
What’s going on at Police Scotland? The vast majority of Scots have a high regard for their local police officers and a huge respect for the difficult job they do. But the reputation of Police Scotland has been tarnished by a number of recent events. The tragic deaths in the M9 accident is just the latest incident to cause public concern. Lamara Bell had to suffer in her car for three days next to her dead partner, John Yuill, before the police responded to a call from a member of the public. Sadly Lamara also died. This follows redundancies among civilian call centre staff, many of whose jobs are now being filled by uninformed police officers. There has been controversy over stop and search policy, and the policy of armed police officers. I have been contacted by serving and retired officers who are complaining about low morale and high levels of stress. Much of this is down to the management style of Sir Stephen House, the Chief Constable and he has managed to alienate many of his rank and file officers. All of this starts to have an impact on public perception and it’s not fair on our hard working and professional police officers. There does need to be an investigation into what happened with the M9 accident. But Police Scotland needs a fresh start and that’s why I believe it needs a new Chief Constable. It’s time for Sir Stephen House to go. But let’s not kid ourselves. Many of these problems have been caused by the decisions made by Scottish Government Ministers and this includes a failure to properly fund the service. Ministers too must be held to account.