George Adam, Paisley’s MSP, has welcomed the Scottish Government’s Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Bill which will put local knowledge at the heart of delivering services in communities across Scotland.
The Bill will mean that Renfrewshire will have its own local commander and local authorities will agree local policing plans with the commander. Moving to a single police force will ensure the future of the force and the additional 1000 officers on the beat since the SNP came to power.
The Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Bill will see the establishing of “The Police Service of Scotland”. The current functions of fire and rescue authorities will transfer to the “Scottish Fire and Rescue Service” which will employ all staff from the current eight fire and rescue authorities to the new service.
“This announcement will see Scotland’s police continue to make our country’s communities, streets and neighbourhoods safer.
“Through a range of measures, including delivering on our election promise of 1000 extra police on Scotland’s streets, crime is at its lowest level since 1976.
“These necessary changes come on the back of potentially devastating Westminster cuts, however, we can and will do more with less, by focussing on a stronger connection between communities and their local police and fire and rescue services.
“The new structure of policing and fire services will see a local commander for every local authority area giving a real local point of contact and ensuring local priorities are decided by police and councillors working together.
“A single force is not unusual, countries including Denmark, Norway and New Zealand take this approach for a similar sized population. When the Tories and Lib Dems are slashing police numbers in England this approach will ensure that in Scotland we can continue to protect our communities properly.
“I welcome the proposals and hope now they have seen the proposals opposition parties will recognise that their fears and smears were ill placed. Scotland’s police force will be independent and answerable to local communities as well as to local MSPs.”
These new bodies will have a commitment and focus on local knowledge by enabling greater powers for local authorities including:
• Chief Constable must ensure adequate arrangements for the policing of each local authority area.
• Designated local commander for each local authority area.
• Local commanders subject to direction and control of the Chief Constable.
• Local authority can request reports and information on policing in the local area.
• Local Plan, agreed between local commander and local authority, setting out priorities, objectives and arrangement for policing in the local authority area.
FIRE and RESCUE
• Scottish Fire Rescue Services must ensure adequate arrangements for SFRS functions in each local authority area.
• Local Senior Officer to involve the local authority in setting priorities and objectives for that area and prepare a local fire and rescue plan for the authority’s agreement.
• Local authority powers to request reports and information on SFRS functions in the local area.