‘No business case’ for Police Scotland creation
A review of Police Scotland by Labour MSP Graeme Pearson, which is published today, claims no detailed financial analysis was carried out when the country’s eight regional forces were merged in 2013.
Mr Pearson, who is a former assistant chief constable of Strathclyde Police, said his report would outline a “string of failings” in the formation of the national force, as well as identifying ways to “restore trust and public faith” in Scottish policing.
Introducing his report, he said: “The people of Scotland need and deserve a police force that does its job thoroughly and efficiently.
“It has been increasingly clear in recent years that Police Scotland is not working properly. Going around the country, listening to what ordinary officers, staff, members of the public and local politicians have had to say has painted a worryingly consistent picture of a centralised, politicised and autocratic police force with little to no meaningful local accountability.”
According to the report, the SNP government failed to set out a business case for Police Scotland, despite calls for one.
The national force was set up with the aim of saving £1.1 billion by 2026.
However, it has been hit by a series of controversies, including its handling of stop and search and the deaths of Lamara Bell and John Yuill following a crash on the M9.
Labour said the report would also identify problems with local accountability, IT systems and the relationship between the Scottish Police Authority, senior management in Police Scotland and the government.
Mr Pearson said: “Creating a single police force is the biggest change to policing in 40 years.
“Yet there is no business case that was shared ahead of time to educate the public of the reforms being undertaken and the expected impact.
“And no business case to consult now to determine how the structures, as currently operating, compare to the vision set out by ministers.”
Last month a Police Scotland staff survey found a third of officers plan to leave the national force.
A spokesman for justice secretary Michael Matheson said: “Graeme Pearson’s claims are wrong - there was a full outline business case for police reform as part of the financial memorandum to the Police and Fire Reform Bill, backed by cross-party support.
“And Labour fully supported the creation of a single police force in the face of Tory cuts from Westminster.”