Local MSP Jackie Baillie is backing a comprehensive review of policing in Scotland.
Scottish Labour has launched the Pearson Review, to be undertaken by Scottish Labour justice spokesperson Graeme Pearson.
Mr Pearson, 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 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
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.
In West Dunbartonshire and Helensburgh, local services have been hit by the closure of the front-counters at Garelochhead and Alexandria police stations and cuts to opening hours at offices in Helensburgh and Dumbarton. Police Scotland has yet to publish its final decision on controversial proposals to shift our local divisional headquarters from Dumbarton to Paisley against which Jackie and thousands of local residents have campaigned.
“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.
“Locally we have seen problems like cuts to opening hours and the closure of police station front-desks throughout the area. I have spoken to hundreds of local residents over the course of my summer roving surgeries and concerns about community policing were among the most common issues raised by constituents. From concerns about the lack of police presence in certain areas to community councils who have been unable to get local officers to attend their meetings, it is clear that many local people are angry about the performance of Police Scotland.
“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. 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 policing that people in West Dunbartonshire, Helensburgh and Lomond know and trust.
“I’m backing this review to suggest the reforms that Scotland needs to see to deliver better policing and a better environment for officers.”