Scottish independence: Police in Yes vote talks

Sir Stephen House. Picture Ian Rutherford
Sir Stephen House. Picture Ian Rutherford
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Scotland’s chief constable has said talks are taking place on intelligence sharing in the event of a Yes vote in the independence referendum in September.

The Metropolitan Police currently leads on counter-terrorism policing in the UK, but in an independent Scotland the responsibility would fall to the government at Holyrood.

Sir Stephen House said: “Police Scotland would be the lead in Scotland on counter-terrorism issues.

“Therefore we would be operating in a co-operative mode with the Metropolitan Police. I don’t see it as a massive significant issue.

“I think more significant - and it has been brought out by a number of observers - is intelligence flow between the various security agencies. And that is something which needs to be determined going ahead.”

The chief constable said discussions are continuing ‘on the matter.

He was speaking ahead of the one-year anniversary of the merger of eight regional forces to form Police Scotland.

Sir Stephen said: “Our view is, it’s performing to a good standard. There’s more we can do, but we are very pleased in the generality of how things have gone so far.”

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Meanwhile, Police Scotland has struck the right balance between national enforcement and local discretion, regional commanders have said.

Community groups and rural MSPs have raised concerns about “Glasgow-style” policing in their communities since former Strathclyde Police chief constable Sir Stephen House took control of the whole of Scotland.

The rollout of practices such as stop and search have proved unpopular with some rural communities.

Local commanders told MSPs that their officers still have discretion on how to enforce certain infringements, such as being caught without a seatbelt.

But Police Scotland also expects national priorities such as domestic abuse to be tackled consistently.

Fife commander Chief Superintendent Garry McEwan said there has been a threefold increase in domestic abuse charges.