Tories slam move for ‘SNP cronies’ on new Scottish Police Association board

The Conservatives have hit out at the SNP after several of the appointments to the new Scottish Police Association are SNP campaigners.

The Conservatives have hit out at the SNP after several of the appointments to the new Scottish Police Association are SNP campaigners.

• Four out of 12 board members are SNP members or Independence campaigners.

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• Other members include Labour, liberals, and Conservatives

The 12 new appointments were announced by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill yesterday, but the Scottish Conservatives say “SNP cronies” are making up a large chunk of the SPA.

Jeane Freeman, a former key member of former Labour first minister Jack McConnell’s team, was involved in the launch of the campaign group Women for Independence. She and two SNP councillors, Graham Houston from Stirling Council and Douglas Yates from East Renfrewshire Council, have been recruited to the new Scottish Police Authority (SPA).

Another of the members, Moiram Ali, has helped deliver newsletters for Angela Constance, an SNP MSP and the Scottish Government’s Youth Employment Minister.

But Scottish tory chief whip John Lamont MSP said: “Eyebrows will certainly be raised over some of these appointments.

“Three out of 12 of these are former SNP councillors, candidates and activists and a further member is closely involved in the SNP-led Women for Independence campaign.

Experts

“The SPA is meant to act in the best interest of the whole of Scotland and contain a range of experts.

“The Scottish Conservatives called for this to be written in the legislation but the SNP repeatedly voted against these moves.

“Instead, Scottish Ministers were given freedom to appoint who they liked, and we are left with SNP cronies and sympathisers forming a large chunk of the SPA.”

The SPA appointments also include Glasgow Labour councillor Paul Rooney, a former deputy procurator fiscal, Ian Ross, who was a Liberal Democrat member of Highland Council, and Iain Whyte, a Conservative councillor in Edinburgh who has been convener of Lothian and Borders Police Board.

Vic Emery, convener of the Scottish Police Services Authority and the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, has already been appointed chair of the SPA.

The members appointed are a “strong, capable and diverse team which will bring independence and expertise to the governance of Scottish policing”, he said.

“Working together, we will be the new national voice on policing, making our national choices on policing.

Pivotal

“Crucially, it will be the SPA’s job to demonstrate a quality police service can be maintained in local communities across Scotland but delivered for less overall cost. We look forward to working with the chief constable and his team in delivering on that objective.”

Mr MacAskill said: “Reform and the establishment of a single service will help ensure communities right across Scotland continue to enjoy excellent policing.

“The Scottish Police Authority will play a pivotal role in the new landscape. These first members, under the leadership of Vic Emery, arrive at a historic time in the evolution of Scottish policing and will help shape the future of the service.”

In total 12 members have been appointed to the SPA which will support the new Police Service of Scotland and its chief constable, Stephen House.

All those appointed will be in the post for four years. The authority could appoint up to an additional two members.