The short answer to Chief Superintendent David O’Connor’s glowing tribute to Police Scotland (Letters, 19 November) is the Mandy Rice-Davies one: “He would say that, wouldn’t he?”
While Mr O’Connor lauds the achievements of Police Scotland, in the past eight months I have felt compelled to travel to Glasgow for a rally and demonstration in support of those who were “kettled”, then arrested after gathering in Glasgow’s Gallowgate to peacefully protest against the police’s over-zealous implementation of the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act.
I have witnessed police intimidation and brutality in many countries abroad, but never expected to see scenes like the Gallowgate “kettling” at home.
In my opinion, Scotland is heading down a dangerous path, where the Scottish police service demand new laws, giving them draconian powers. Once these are given, they create special enforcement units to enforce these laws.
There is then a need to get arrests in numbers commensurate with the resources allocated, and so the police go to extraordinary lengths to get convictions.
To offset their excesses we then see police public relations offensives, featuring photos of Chief Constable Sir Stephen House looking purposeful, aided by sound-bites and statistics such as those trotted out by Mr O’Connor, who boasts that although Police Scotland is only eight months old, violent crime has plummeted 14 per cent compared with last year and “public confidence and reassurance is high”. Who is he kidding?
Rather than engage in spin, senior Police Scotland figures would be better served by sacking their PR people, stepping back from the political world, and going quietly about their work.
Like children, senior officers should be seen and not heard.