Such a force would be run by a chief constable, who would be report to the Justice Secretary. Concentrating the power for law enforcement in the whole country in the hands of these two people is just plain wrong, and open to abuse in the future. Also, when you have more senior police officers on an equal footing, they can contribute to debate on that basis. I've found it useful to see Chief Constables give their view on issues like drugs, like when Humberside Chief Constable Tom Hillis suggested that our current drugs laws are not working. The Police is a pretty hierarchical organisation. Cutting the number of people who can contribute to the debate to just one is not an enlightening move. And if you have just one individual in charge, how do you make sure that that person has the backing of the whole force, and is not just the favoured son of the Justice Secretary?
Policing issues in Glasgow are completely different from policing issues in Helmsdale, or Stornoway, or Lerwick, or Elgin, or Pitlochry or Peebles. I am not convinced that a single force could properly serve these diverse communities properly. My concerns are magnified when I see that the Chief Constables of Lothian and Strathclyde are all for it and those who covers the most remote communities in Scotland, like Grampian and Northern, are against it. I suspect that they worry that their most remote stations, where the local bobby is an integral part of the local community would be shut down and resources shifted to Glasgow and Edinburgh.
And then you might have a situation where the Chief Constable for Scotland decides that tasers are to be issued to all officers. Now, I don't agree with that at the best of times, but to force that on the local highland bobby, or community, would be so wrong.
I don't see how a single Scottish force can properly serve the varying needs of the country's different communities and I am very concerned at the rush to centralise.
I'm glad to see that again it's Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Robert Brown, who also led the opposition to the SNP's quadrupling of pre-charge detention last year, who's pointing out the flaws in this plan, saying:
"Liberal Democrats will fight any move towards a single police force in Scotland.
“It is hugely disappointing but unsurprising that the Cabinet Secretary presented his plans for a single police force and fire board without giving the slightest indication of what savings and benefits Scotland would gain as a result.
“Liberal Democrats are not persuaded that a creation of a single police force will save any significant amount of money.
“Communities will instead suffer as local accountability is eroded and local police services damaged.
“Centralised bureaucrats will be given far too much say over how local policing decisions are made without being aware of local problems and issues.
“We are still waiting for a clear reason to be given by any of the supporters on why moving towards a single Scottish police force will improve policing or make Scottish streets safer.
“The idea of a single Scottish police service is bad for democracy, bad for local communities and bad for local policing.”