View Full Version : Police decision on single force

21-Apr-11, 08:46
Board say 'no' to single police force

The Northern Joint Police Board has voiced its opposition to the creation of a single police force for Scotland, believing the centralisation of policing will have a detrimental effect on policing in the distinct rural area and accountability of decision-making.
In responding to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the future of policing in Scotland, the Board supported the continuation of an enhanced form of the existing eight-force model, which they say is working very well in the Highlands and Islands and delivering excellent policing performance.
Members would also consider a rationalised regional force model, comprising four new police forces, which they believe would see Northern Constabulary at the centre of any future North of Scotland force, delivering cost efficiencies and minimising the negative impact on fragile communities.
Convener, Councillor Norman MacLeod, Western Isles, said: “If something is not broken, why fix it? Northern Constabulary is renowned for its strong performance with crime reduction and annual detection rates, which are amongst the highest in the United Kingdom and well in excess of the national average, whilst having the smallest ratio of officers to population of any force in Scotland.
“Sustainable resourcing is vital to ensure that the force continues to meet the excellent standard of policing the public expects and currently receives in the Highlands and Islands.”
He did not support the argument that a single police force would deliver a consistent standard of services across the Highlands and Islands.
He said: “There needs to be a greater appreciation and understanding of the diverse nature of the communities across the Highlands and Islands and acknowledgement that one model of policing will not fit all. There is now an opportunity to improve and build upon what is already an excellent quality of service, whilst maintaining the existing high level of local accountability and sustaining the effective and efficient style of community policing already in existence.”
Vice-Convener Councillor Ian Ross, Highland, said the creation of a North of Scotland police force within a four-force structure was worthy of further consideration.
He said: “Within a four-force model or an enhanced form of the current eight force model, Northern Constabulary could grow and remain at the heart of policing in the Highlands and Islands area and deliver cost efficiencies, whilst minimising the negative impact on fragile communities. A high performing, well regarded local police service, which is accountable to local partners and communities, remains the most appropriate way to delivering policing with this unique geographical environment.
“The single force option provides the biggest risk to the community policing which has been so effective in protecting people and communities in the Highlands and Islands.”