At the beginning of the year we had a constructive discussion here about the future of Scotland's police. Some excellent points were made and the majority view was that policing primarily had to be local; the number of forces were secondary.
All of Scotland's 32 local authorities are against the move and they want to retain the present eight forces. The Herald is reporting the concerns of a former local government head, Sir Charles Gray, who described the move as potentially "quite dangerous".
...“On one occasion the possibility of a single force was raised. I have never forgotten the contribution by a senior officer who would go on to serve with considerable distinction.
“He said very firmly, it should not be considered. You could have a rogue chief with a few well-placed deputies in charge of what could become, to all intents and purposes, a personal army and a police state...
Sir Charles' remarks reminded me of a link The Police... Are they a Private Political Army? sent to me by a loyal reader. It's a fairly lengthy read but certainly an interesting one.
Today around 100 opponents of the proposal are meeting in Edinburgh for a one-day conference organised by Cosla. The Justice Secretary is trying to head off confrontation with council bosses by promising local authorities that they will be closely involved in the shaping of policing within their boundaries. But will this be enough, especially when it's proposed that the oversight mechanism for the new service, a Scottish Police Board, may sideline councillors?
If I were a gambling woman I'd say Kenny MacAskill will win the argument by a thread. He is determined to change the face of Scotland's police services, but are his actions only those of a cosmetic surgeon? Only time will tell.