Criticism Over Creation Of Police Scotland

6 November 2015, 06:00 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

Police generic

A Labour review of Police Scotland will criticise the Scottish Government for failing to provide a full business case for the single force.

The party's justice spokesman Graeme Pearson is due to reveal the findings of the review and outline his proposals for policing reform in Glasgow on Friday.

The probe was launched after the force was hit by a series of controversies, with independent investigations under way into the death in custody of Fife man Sheku Bayoh and officers' failure to respond to reports of a fatal crash on the M9 in Stirlingshire.

Mr Pearson, a former senior police officer, travelled across Scotland speaking to officers, civilian staff, community groups and victim support workers as part of the review.

The MSP will say the work uncovered "a string of problems'' with local accountability, IT systems and the relationship between watchdog the Scottish Police Authority, senior Police Scotland management and the SNP government.

In an extract of the report released before the launch, Mr Pearson said he and many other MSPs had asked for a full business case to be provided.

"Creating a single police force is the biggest public service reform in Scotland since devolution and the biggest change to policing in 40 years,'' he said.

"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.''

He added: "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.

"All this has emerged as a consequence of the Scottish Government's handling of the formation of Police Scotland.''