And then they are projecting £1.6 billion savings in the Police in 4 years' time. Like....how? The Party has been touting its support for a national police force for months on end - but in the manifesto - it's all very non committal. They want to protect numbers but there's a whole load of waffle about how. They told the BBC, though, that it's based on 3-4 police forces. So they've clearly been threatened by the success of the campaign against led by Tavish Scott to not want to be associated with the single force, but not really to offer a concrete alternative. And they say Liberal Democrats sit on the fence.Actually, forget the far be it from me stuff. It was a sly, cynical manipulation by the SNP, to pretend that they might reconsider when they'd been supporting it for months.
A single force is a bad idea for so many reasons. How can you possibly suggest that policing needs in Achiltibuie, Banff, Glasgow and Selkirk will be even remotely similar? What if a taser happy Chief Constable insists that all officers carry them? That will ruin community policing across Scotland.
And then you have the concentration of power for law enforcement in this country in the hands of the justice secretary and one single chief constable with nobody in the hierarchy powerful enough to challenge them.
And, as Willie Rennie has pointed out, what happens when there's a complaint to deal with. At the moment, if, say, you wanted to complain about Fife Constabulary, another force would come in and do the investigation, which seems eminently sensible. With a single force, how do you sort that one out? Bring in English forces who operate in a totally different culture and system?
“The Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill seems hell-bent on ignoring the mass of informed public opinion on the single police force. He claims to be consulting, but it is more of a PR exercise.
“Clear evidence shows this plan will cost money, not save money, it risks losing officers and it will give the Justice Secretary absolute control over the police, which is a dangerous step.”
"This may mean that English police forces will have to be called up to investigate complaints made in Scotland. It will be a real challenge for officers from a different jurisdiction to fill the gap in Scottish police forces.
"This cannot be what the SNP had intended to happen. They should think again about their plans."I think this is an appropriate moment to remind you all about the Save our Police Facebook page and the Scottish Liberal Democrats' petition page (which needs updating to include comments from Willie who, if anything, is even more opposed to the idea than Tavish was.
The SNP have an overall majority in Parliament. They can pretty much do what they want. That's not to say we should just roll over and let them. We need a strong campaign against this across the whole of Scottish society. Strong liberal voices got them to back down on the sectarian legislation. We can do it again on this.
This is bad in principle, will cost, not save, money and there is simply no justification for it.