16th Feb 2018

Brian Wilson: Here’s how to avoid political interference in the police

I try to avoid becoming wise after events so, amid the deluge of “why-oh-why has it all gone wrong?” commentaries on Police Scotland, it is worth recalling that objections to its establishment were well signposted – and totally ignored. The critical point from which all else flows is that the creation of Police Scotland, the removal of local accountability and the appointment of a supine quango were primarily politically driven acts, rather than responses to operational needs. In the recent words of Colin McKerracher, former Chief Constable of Grampian: “The police didn’t want it. The public had no great appetite for it. So why did it happen? It happened because the SNP Government wanted to brand it ‘Scottish’.”



Police chiefs slap three cop limit on patrol cars over fears the motors are too heavy

POLICE chiefs slapped a three cop limit on patrol cars over fears the force’s motors will be too heavy. Top brass ruled a squad of burly bobbies in full safety gear would weigh down Ford Focuses and Vauxhall Astras already packed with gadgets. A safety warning has now been issued, banning four or more officers from piling in together for callouts. David Hamilton of the Scottish Police Federation, representing rank-and-file cops, backed the move but insisted it smacked of a penny-pinching culture.



Profile: Stephen House, the police chief making a comeback

Sir Stephen House has emerged from “retirement” to become Assistant Commissioner of the UK’s largest police force, London’s Metropolitan Police. He will take charge of disclosure policy and practice following the controversy over the case of student Liam Allan, 22, whose trial on rape charges collapsed when it emerged that messages which cast doubt on the claims against him had not been provided to his lawyers. Police forces across England and Wales are looking again at thousands of rape prosecutions and House will superintend that operation for the Met, for whom he previously worked as an Assistant Commissioner. A statement from Scotland Yard said: “One of his key initial tasks will be to co-ordinate the Met’s response to the challenges raised recently in respect of disclosure policy and practice.”



Police launch rape prevention campaign aimed at men

A hard hitting rape prevention campaign aimed at young men has been launched by Police Scotland. The We Can Spot It campaign will involve advertising and social media posts aimed at men aged between 18 and 35 in a bid to raise awareness that sex without consent is rape. It will focus on attitudes around having sex with someone who is suffering from the effects of alcohol or drugs. Reported rapes in Scotland have increased every in the last decade and around 20% of all cases are committed against women under the influence or unable to consent, with men in the campaign’s target age group the most likely to be responsible.


Dundee event for women who want to join police force

Police Scotland is inviting potential candidates to a workshop at Baluniefield Police Station, where they can meet staff and divisional officers. The event, on Thursday March 22, will give attendees the opportunity to ask questions of current female officers and special officers, as well as participating in a fitness test demonstration. Officers from firearms, road policing and other specialist units will be in attendance. Police Scotland said it was hoping to dispel any rumours or misconceptions about the force, as well as alleviating any concerns women may have about becoming a police officer or volunteer special constable.


‘Right to ask’ scheme launched in Inverclyde

A SCHEME which allows people to be told if their partner has been violent in the past is operating in Inverclyde. Police Scotland said the aim of the scheme was to prevent domestic abuse by “empowering” men and women with the “right to ask”. It also allows concerned members of the public, such as relatives and friends, to make enquiries about someone’s partner if they are concerned that person has been abusive in the past.  Gillian Cooper, who is a detective constable at Renfrewshire and Inverclyde Domestic Abuse Investigation Unit, said: “The Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse Scotland can be accessed by anyone who is worried about their partner, or by someone who may be concerned about another’s partner or even if they are concerned about a friend or relative who is behaving differently since being in a new relationship.



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