More honesty is needed to resolve the police merger
Tapping variously into the heated politics of Scottish policing and constitutional preferences, the merger of British Transport Police (BTP) into Police Scotland is an issue unlikely to abate any time soon. Asked whether he would consider putting the merger on hold, Michael Matheson, the justice secretary, has indicated that he will listen to any concerns raised by the Joint Programme Board (JPB), tasked with managing the merger. His response is important, more so in view of the recent HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland report that details a series of risks. But for a meaningful response there needs to be a sea-change in clarity and openness. Downplayed or skirted around during the passage of the bill, the risks and realities of integration are now coming.
Dundee Matters: Police Scotland can’t be a law unto itself
The arrival of two cardboard cut-out policemen in Dundee to deter speeders means the average number of cops carrying guns or Tasers on our streets will be proportionately smaller. The bad news is there will still be more armed police, following a decision taken unilaterally by Police Scotland. In 2014, a public outcry over gun-wielding cops attending routine incidents led to an eventual climbdown by the force.
Police step up campaign against drink driving
DRIVERS in Scotland are being reminded that there is zero tolerance for “just one” drink before driving. A new festive awareness campaign from the Scottish Government and Road Safety Scotland (part of Transport Scotland) reinforces that when it comes to drink driving, “the best approach is none”, as well as highlighting the consequences of being found guilty of drink driving. Justice Secretary Michael Matheson launched the month-long enforcement and awareness campaign in Edinburgh with Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone and Chief Superintendent Stewart Carle.
Police Scotland Investing in a High-Tech Future
Police Scotland is investing in a high-tech future, with plans to introduce crime-fighting hubs and drones. Last week Former Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill claimed in a column that Police Scotland should stop dealing with ‘resource-intensive’ issues, such as policing cybercrime. Instead, MacAskill asserted, policing the web should be left up to private companies who have, arguably, more time and manpower to put behind curbing cybercrime. But now, in contrast, it has emerged that Police Scotland plan to invest in a high-tech future, with the publication of a new Implementation Plan for the force over the next three years. Forming the first step of a longer-term strategy – ‘Policing 2026 – Serving a Changing Scotland’ – the shorter-term plan details proposals to introduce a number of digitised crime-fighting centres and recon drones to the force’s roster.