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POLICE BILL WILL LEAD TO CENTRAL CONTROL POLICING, SAYS COSLA

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The Police and Magistrates Court Bill will lead to centrally rather than locally police forces, the Convention of S...
The Police and Magistrates Court Bill will lead to centrally rather than locally police forces, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities says in a briefing document issued today to coincide with the Bill's second reading in the House of Lords.

'Policing will pass from the control of the local electorate. Centrally directed policy will replace local police forces contrary to local preference', the briefing says. An automatic consequence of this will be increased pressure towards reduction in the number of police forces, it says.

'The convention's principal concern about the provisions of the current legislative proposals for policing in Scotland is the proposed increase in central government controls and the consequent major reduction in local democratic control.

'The convention is concerned that a serious democratic deficit is being created by these legislative provisions.

'If local government reorganisation goes ahead only two of 28 police authorities will be individually responsible for police forces for their own areas while the remaining 26 will be required to operate through joint boards.

'They will then have virtually no control of their funding obligations to provide policing in their areas. Police authorities will have extremely limited capacity, if any, to influence policing priorities for their areas', COSLA comments.

The convention also voices concern at the new power of chief constables to determine the establishment of their forces without authorisation by the police authority and consent of the Scottish Secretary.

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