Baker’s Bulletin - Reforms that the police force need

With the resignation of Sir Stephen House as Chief Constable of Police Scotland, it is clear that a comprehensive review of policing in Scotland is needed.

Scottish Labour have launched the Pearson Review, to be undertaken by Scottish Labour justice spokesperson Graeme Pearson who was a former Head of Crime and Counter Terrorism at Strathclyde Police before his appointment as Director General of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency.

He will travel the country speaking to rank and file officers, civilian staff, community groups, victim support staff and others as part of a wide-ranging review of policing in Scotland. The review will consider local accountability, the relationship between Police Scotland, the Scottish Police Authority and Scottish Government ministers as well as staffing and targets.

Since the creation of the single force in 2013 Police Scotland has faced a series of scandals and controversies - including the M9 car crash, cuts to civilian staff and services, a lack of transparency over stop and search and armed officers. Police officers put their personal safety on the line every single day to keep people safe, but they are working under immense pressure. Instead of doing the job they trained for, too many are having to fill back office functions because of SNP Government cuts.

In the North East, we have seen the announcement that our police control room will close and difficulties recruiting police officers persist and at no point has there been support from the SNP Government who have not handled the continued controversies at Police Scotland well.

 Scottish Labour supported the introduction of the single police force back in 2013 in the hope it would share best practice and boost accountability but something has gone badly wrong with its implementation. The resignation of Sir Stephen House was the right thing to do but the problems won’t follow him out the door.

Policing in Scotland needs a shake-up. We need to get back to the kind of community policing that made Scotland the envy of the world at one time, the kind of people that people in North East can trust.