Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Save local policing? It's not under threat.

Given their disastrous polling, the Clegg effect, and the ever-present Lib Dem tendency to promise different things to different people, I can understand why they have sought out a simple campaign line for the Scottish election. "Save our police" they cry; "keep policing local" and even "Lib Dems stand up for local services".

So are our local police services under threat? The Lib Dems say:
"The fight against crime in Scotland is now under threat from plans by the SNP and Labour to centralise our police. Under their plans local police forces would be disbanded."

SLD website
Sounds pretty scary. No local police? No-one on the beat, no local knowledge aiding the fight against crime? How could Labour consider such a move? Ah, wait.
"Scottish Labour will guarantee that there will be no cuts to police on the beat and we will protect frontline police jobs and police numbers. We will also ensure that more police officers are out in communities, rather than stuck behind a desk."

Labour manifesto, p.48
So local police are staying after all, and in fact under Labour there will be more of them on the beat. So what about this national police force?
"To increase administrative efficiencies and free up resources for the frontline, Scottish Labour will legislate to deliver a single police force for Scotland, with delegated authority and local accountability mechanisms."

Labour manifesto, p.48
Right, so all that's being unified is the management. Makes sense really. At the moment there are 8 different sets of police managers across Scotland, with one of them - Strathclyde - responsible for policing 50% of the Scottish population, and the other 50% split between 7 different forces. That can't be efficient.

And local accountability will be maintained, and resources freed up to bolster front-line policing, putting the lie to the other half of the Lib Dem objections.

Save our local police? They are simply not under threat.

1 comment:

  1. Well it's coming like it or not, I hope you are right. Coming from the Grampian area I suspect what will happen will be a pull of resources from the north to the central belt. Certainly the appointment of Mr House to CC doesn't fill me with confidence. Do you not think that North,Central and South might have been more sensible?