THE public are being given the chance to say whether they think the merger of Scotland’s eight police forces into one has been a success.
The Scottish Parliament has urged people to submit their views, as from today.
Police Scotland was launched in April, taking over from eight regional forces and the Scottish Crime and Drugs Enforcement Agency. Controversy over the closure of some public counters, a rise in stop and search, and changes to the style of policing in some areas may be raised.
Christine Grahame MSP, convener of Holyrood’s justice committee, said: “We want to know how the newly merged Police Scotland force is bedding in across the country and whether people have noticed any benefits or deterioration in the service they have come to expect from their local police.
“There has already been a lot of coverage about the closure of police counters and the perception that policing practices are being standardised across the country at the detriment of local flexibility. We want to hear what is fiction and what is fact from the people on the receiving end of local policing.”
Police Scotland’s first litmus test is likely to be the 2014 Commonwealth Games, where it will be in charge of the security, while making sure communities do not suffer. Next year will also bring the Ryder Cup and the independence referendum.
Chief Constable Sir Stephen House must look to make savings of £139 million over the next two financial years, while maintaining the 1,000 extra officers put on the beat as part of a Scottish Government pledge.