5 December 2019

The resignation of Scottish Police Authority chair Susan Deacon is just the latest reminder that Scotland’s public services are not safe in the SNP’s hands, Richard Leonard has said.

Ms Deacon dramatically quit this morning, saying “the governance and accountability arrangements for policing in Scotland are fundamentally flawed, in structure, culture and practice”.

At First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, Mr Leonard recalled the HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland report into the Scottish Police Authority published in September.

The Scottish Labour leader said the report “found that the SPA is failing to hold the Chief Constable to account, failing to facilitate local scrutiny, and failing on transparency”.

Mr Leonard said: “For the last two weeks, you have toured the TV studios up and down the UK boasting about your record in government. But this week, we have had confirmation that our GP practices are in crisis; and that your education secretary is failing teachers and failing to provide the quality education that our young people deserve.

“Today, Police scrutiny has been plunged into crisis. And this comes on top of recent warnings from senior police officers that further cuts will be made in police numbers to meet current budgetary limits, at a time when violent crime is rising.

“It’s time for Nicola Sturgeon to accept that none of Scotland’s public services are safe in her hands.”

Commenting on Ms Deacon’s resignation, Scottish Labour Justice spokesperson James Kelly said: “This resignation reveals the SPA is an organisation in crisis.

“Susan Deacon’s resignation raises serious questions about the ability of the SPA to oversee the role of Police Scotland.

”The Chief Inspector of Constabulary has described the SPA as failing to hold senior officers to account and has said it has consistently led down hard-working officers by failing to make the case for greater funding.

“Due to the SNP’s short-sighted and shambolic approach to policing morale is at an all time low. The SPA is structurally flawed and in need of a radical shakeup. Nicola Sturgeon needs to get a grip and answer the serious questions over the governance and accountability of the SPA.”
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