Scots police ‘not adopting Glasgow-style tactics’

HM Inspector of Constabulary has rejected claims there has been a “Strathclydisation” of policing since the formation of Police Scotland.

The HM Inspector of Constabulary has denied suggestions that Police Scotland is adopting a Glasgow-style method of policing. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor

Giving evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s justice committee, Derek Penman said policing had become “operationally stronger” since the country’s eight regional forces were merged to create Police Scotland last year.

But Mr Penman, a former assistant chief constable of Police Scotland, denied suggestions from Elaine Murray MSP that the former methods of Strathclyde Police had been “writ large” across the country since the new force came into being.

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Instead, he said the new force was simply reflecting the style of its chief constable, former Strathclyde chief constable Sir Stephen House.

“It’s not Strathclydisation,” Mr Penman told MSPs. “I think it was inevitable that the chief constable leading will move the force in (his) direction. It’s more about the chief constable’s style.”

Mr Penman said it was “inevitable” there would be a “short, sharp focus” initially, but that there would be more “localism” as policing began to “mature”.

In a series of submissions to the committee, local councils had raised concerns about the proposal to close a number of control rooms across the country.

However, MSPs used the evidence session to focus on a range of other issues including police accountability, stop and search and armed officers.

Mr Penman said that with the new police service now 16 months old, there was an opportunity to look at how it is run.

“Operational independence still requires operational accountability,” he told MSPs.