Sunday 2 January 2011

One single police force bad news for Dundee

I have today expressed considerable concern over Scottish Government moves towards merging Scotland’s eight police forces into one single force for the whole of Scotland, pointing out that this could lead to a diminution of local policing, centralisation focussing on the central belt and a loss of local police officers.

I am very concerned at the SNP Scottish Government’s apparent support for such a move - there must be concerns that a single force would be dominated by Strathclyde and the central belt, to the detriment of the rest of Scotland. One size does not fit all when it comes to policing and local policing here in Dundee really does matter.

I am dubious that a national police force would save up to the £200 million a year the government claims - without the loss of hundreds if not thousands of police officers.    Another consideration is the loss of local accountability if the current Police Joint Boards were abolished and replaced with a centralised arrangement  - with just one Chief Constable and the Justice Secretary.

We need to continue to have good local policing with local democratic accountability. These centralising proposals, sweeping away local forces and boards, are not in the interests of local policing.   The Liberal Democrats will continue to oppose the loss of Scotland's local police forces.