Scotsman Letters: How did Police Scotland become so 'institutionally racist'

Sir Iain Livingstone's statement that Police Scotland is "Institutionally racist" begs many questions for an organisation only ten years old. The first question that comes to mind is why did it get to be like this?
Chief Constable Sir Iain Livingstone admitted that Police Scotland is 'institutionally racist'Chief Constable Sir Iain Livingstone admitted that Police Scotland is 'institutionally racist'
Chief Constable Sir Iain Livingstone admitted that Police Scotland is 'institutionally racist'

As a new organisation formed from the older regional forces potentially there was an opportunity to create something better. As many warned, new was not necessarily better, putting all one's eggs into one untested basket risks much. Centralisation was a deliberate political decision driven by the government, the effect was to reduce local and community ties and increase central control over the service.

One suspects that all organisations are at some level discriminatory, with several organisations delivering the same service in differing communities one suspects that there would be heterogeneity in terms of institutional racism. With regional police services it would at least have been possible to compare performance, to set standards and ambitions, to allow diversity of methods and to compare and review performance, to learn from practice, some being better some worse.

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Sir William MacPherson's definition of "institutionally racist" is "The collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture, or ethnic origin.”

Sir Iain Livingstone declares it a fact in the Scottish Police Service. The Police Federation see his comments as "extreme sabotage" that would “devastate the gossamer-thin remnants of any morale in the police service” meanwhile all communities are now more distanced from the concept of "Policing by consent".

The next chief constable has had his homework set by his predecessor, not something that I suspect he will appreciate, nor do I suppose will our "progressive" Government, those responsible for this nadir of public policy.

Gavin Findlay, Boghead

Greens takeover?

We were led to believe that the Bute House Agreement, sealing a coalition deal between the SNP and the Green Party, was necessary because the 2021 election left the SNP one seat short of an absolute majority. This was sophistry, given that the Greens were highly unlikely to vote with the opposition parties against the SNP on pretty much anything.

The outcome of this agreement has been an agenda driven by Green priorities: the Gender Recognition Reform bill, the deposit return scheme and the Highly Protected Marine Areas policy. However much support these issues have in political circles, they are all, in their different ways, unpopular with the public at large – that is to say, with voters, the people politicians theoretically represent.

Now up pops Green MSP Ross Greer, wanting a new income tax band to extort even more money from the relatively few people who already pay 65 per cent of all income tax.

Why is the initiative in controversial legislation being taken by the junior partners, none of whom has ever won a public election? Is it that a tired SNP has no agenda beyond separatism to deliver? Or has the SNP leadership been taken in by the Greens’ self-styled moral superiority?

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh

Tourist tax

The belated decision by the Government to push ahead with the introduction of a tourist tax for Scotland (and please let’s call it for what it really is) is very much to be welcomed. The time has long past for yet more consultations; the priority has to be on delivering a scheme ready for implementation in 2024.

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My concern is that the proposals seem to be suggesting that the income raised should be spent on improving the tourist experience. Surely in these depressing times the money should be used to support the budgets of our hard-pressed local authorities?

One very obvious problem that confronts both local citizens and visitors to Edinburgh is the lack of public toilets . As an Edinburgh Festival voluntary guide taking visitors down the Royal Mile, you are regularly having to apologise when you are asked where is there a public toilet? Visitors, particularly the elderly, are faced with having to go into a café to ask permission to use their facilities.

Authorities are quick to provide temporary toilet facilities for large sporting and cultural events, so why not for the centre of the city? Here is an obvious example of benefit for both residents and visitors..

Local authorities should also introduce charging for our local museums, galleries and gardens.

Like the tourist tax, paying entrance fees is pretty much universal in other countries.

With my Festival guide hat on again, visitors are astonished that they can get in free to these attractions. As experience has shown from elsewhere, it is perfectly possible to apply reduced or free entry for local residents and senior citizens.

Eric Melvin, Edinburgh

Tidal power plea

While CO2 levels have probably fluctuated since the earliest days of our planet, it is the supply of reliable sources of electrical and motive power that is both our immediate and future problem.

Of course fossil fuels and natural hydrocarbons will eventually die out but they will never be replaced by basing electrical generation on the vagaries of wind power, especially as a high percentage of wind turbines are financed and owned by foreign nationals.

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While very costly, nuclear sources of power can produce vast quantities of electricity, few of them can supply enough power for a nation. It should be remembered as well that Europe's largest power station, in the Ukraine,was put out of production so easily by a Russian attack!

There is only one source of never-ending reliable power and that is tidal power. We should be building literally hundreds of small-but-efficient tidal power stations around our island: our nation is highly suited to such a means of generation.

It's about time for our government to get its head out of the sand and start getting real.

Archibald A. Lawrie, Kingskettle

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