North East MSP Mike Rumbles has accused the Scottish Government of being in denial over cutbacks to community policing in Scotland.
Despite assurances made by the SNP Minister at the time, that police reforms would ‘improve performance by retaining local services for local communities’ and ‘strengthening the connection between the services and communities’, Kemnay Community Council in Aberdeenshire has reported to Mr Rumbles that police would not longer attend or report to local meetings due to staff shortages.
Mr Rumbles said: “What will it take for the Scottish Government to listen to communities about local policing needs?
“Community engagement is a vital part of improving trust between the services and the public, and that is doubly so in rural areas. Centralisation, one-size-fits-all and cutting back-room support is doing serious harm to the relationship between communities and the police.
“Our police men and women in the North East are extremely hard working, but morale on the ground is at an all-time low. If we want to get back to having a world class police force here in Scotland, the Government must loosen their political chokehold, and provide the resources needed for officers to do their job.”
Notes for editors:
· See written question below: 17 August 2016 Index Heading: Learning and Justice
o Mike Rumbles (North East Scotland) (Scottish Liberal Democrats): To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the comments by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice on 10 May 2012 (Official Report, c. 8769) that the Police and Fire Reform Bill would “improve performance by retaining local services for local communities” and that it is “essential to safeguard the vital front-line services on which communities depend” and on 27 June 2012 (Official Report, c. 10659) that the Bill would “create the sort of world-class, public-focused services that we want for Scotland…strengthening the connection between the services and communities” and that it would “provide an enhanced focus on delivery of local services”, for what reason representatives of Police Scotland will no longer (a) attend and (b) provide a report for Kemnay Community Council meetings because of staffing shortages and whether it considers that this is consistent with the comments made by the cabinet secretary. S5W-01572
o Michael Matheson: The Scottish Government, Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority are taking forward work to strengthen the community focus of policing. The Scottish Government is achieving this through our ongoing review of the Strategic Police Priorities whilst the Scottish Police Authority continues to take forward work following its recent Review of Governance in Policing, ensuring that local interests are effectively represented in the planning, delivery and scrutiny of police services across Scotland. The Authority assess the effectiveness of local engagement through its annual review process whilst Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland report on engagement with local communities as part of its local policing inspections. Police Scotland senior officers regularly report to Aberdeenshire Scrutiny and Audit Committee, however decisions on attendance at specific local meetings and events is a matter for Police Scotland. SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT