Dumfriesshire Scottish Parliament Candidate, Oliver Mundell, has this week backed Scottish Conservative calls for a root and branch review of Police Scotland. Mr Mundell believes that critics have been proven right and that it is vital that the lessons of the failed centralised structure are learnt in the wake of Sir Stephen House’s resignation.
Recent events, including the M9 tragedy, have added to concerns that creating a single police force has damaged the effectiveness of the service. Mr Mundell remains firmly of the view that Police Scotland, despite the best efforts of local officers, has led to the weakening of community policing, the closure of local stations to the public, further centralisation, more stop and searches and routinely armed police officers on the streets. In his view these practices are out of touch with the views and expectations of local communities who were promised that Police Scotland would remain accountable to local residents and respect the distinct needs of rural communities in Dumfries and Galloway.
Mr Mundell believes that the new vacancy provides a much needed opportunity for an urgent rethink. He is backing Scottish Conservative calls for a thorough review of the arrangements and how local accountability can be restored before a new Chief Constable can be appointed.
Mr Mundell is now calling on local MSPs and fellow candidates to back the plans and put local needs back at the heart of policing policy.
Commenting, Dumfriesshire Conservative Candidate Oliver Mundell said:
“The reputation of Police Scotland has been left in tatters and despite the best efforts of local officers we are seeing community policing put under continuous strain here in Dumfries and Galloway. When the single police force was created we were made a number of promises and it has become increasingly clear that the new centralised structure has not allowed these to be kept.
“Increasingly the decisions taken by high command seem to be completely out of step with the wishes and concerns of local people. You only have to look at the decision to routinely deploy armed police on our streets, and the disastrous closure of our local police control room, to understand why people feel so let down and angry.”
“The time has now come for a full and frank review into the failings of Police Scotland and to look again at the problems of accountability of the new structure. If we are going to retain the benefits of community policing here in Dumfries and Galloway then it is essential that we see local officers given more flexibility and the resources to meet local needs. I remain firmly of the view that a thorough review needs to be carried out before a new Chief Constable is appointed and I have written to the Scottish Government and Police Scotland to call for urgent action.”