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by Tom Freeman
07 December 2017
Motion of no confidence in Police Scotland defeated

Police Scotland - credit Ninian Reid

Motion of no confidence in Police Scotland defeated

The Liberal Democrats came under fire from MSPs of other parties as the party's motion of no confidence in Police Scotland was defeated at Holyrood.

The party called for an independent commission to look at previous reforms which saw local police forces merged into a national force in 

Liam McArthur said a succession of resignations, suspensions and early retirements had weakened confidence in Scotland's national police force and governing body the Scottish Police Authority.

He told MSPs: "We have every confidence in our police officers and staff. We have no confidence, though, in the structures in which they are being asked to operate. We need change."

But the motion was fiercely criticised by Calum Steele of the Scottish Police Federation on twitter.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: "If the member is committed to being 100 per cent behind police officers in the job that they are doing, supporting a motion of no confidence in Police Scotland is a bizarre way of going about it."

And former cop John Finnie MSP, justice spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, slammed the motion for being an "overt attack" on Police Scotland's structure and strategy.

"The strategic functions of Police Scotland are delivering results, whether in organised crime, human trafficking or terrorism. The real issue is local accountability," he said.

"We need to see early and comprehensive devolution of resources within Police Scotland, including finance, to deliver genuine local policing which can be robustly scrutinised by democratically elected committees.

"We need to challenge those with the romantic notion that in the old days everything was good in policing. But there's no doubt the SPA has a way to go to build a positive reputation.

"With devolution of decision-making in line with local policing plans we can reflect real community needs."

Scottish Labour's Claire Baker called for "increasing capacity and devolution" in both Police Scotland and the SPA.

The Scottish Conservatives, however, backed the Liberal Democrat motion. 

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