Your recent report of the changes made in creating Police Scotland as a single force has not sufficiently made clear the opposition to this by those of us who value separated political power and freedom in general.
Nowhere is this more clearly seen than in the new oath sworn by constables on entry to the force.
Whilst there is no mention of the rights of the citizen to look to constables for protection from criminality in all its forms (“an anachronism” according to justice secretary Kenny MacAskill), the new oath has been politicised to oblige the police “to uphold human rights and accord equal respect to all people according to the law”. Nothing new there then?
However, the devil, as usual, emerges in the 25 separate pledges – any breach of which can cost a constable disciplinary action and, more bluntly, the sack.
The Police Scotland Chief Constable Stephen House, Mr MacAskill and their political tail have spelled out what “equal respect” should be. Criminals have to be treated in “a humane and dignified manner”.
Police must now remain sensitive to the needs of affected individuals” and, more ominously still, “with respect to freedom of thought”. Whose freedom of thought, the criminal’s?
The danger is plainly written. The autocratic police authority will interpret the new code as they see it.
Our once respected police are undergoing an evolution of superior orders which we must not let degenerate into the re-emergence of the concept “orders are orders”.
Lathalmond by Dunfermline, Fife