I used to be sceptical almost anti about the devolutionary process. I used to think that the strength of our nation was in its unity, I believed there was something great and good in the values of a United Kingdom. My thoughts are changing…
The more I read about the political and financial differences developing between England and our Gaelic cousins in Scotland, the more I see some of the sense in their aims. I can fully understand why so many of my friends have headed North of the Border for their retirement. It would appear that (so far) the tartan health care and education systems are both set to be more available to all than ours. House prices appear more sensible or realistic and the on top of all that, the scenery is amazing. The final clincher has just been announced; it seems the Scottish have now also got a handle on correctly sorting out the financial problems blighting the police service.
BBC News: Alex Salmond is expected to stress that “bobbies not boundaries” are his priority. The first minister is expected to tell the SNP conference that the current structure of eight forces is not sustainable. (Read more)
South of the border in England and Wales, we are continuously informed by politicians and the media that; police force amalgamation and/or regionalisation is ‘not acceptable to the public’.
May 2006: “It’s clear that the public strongly oppose police force mergers. People want policing to be local, responsive and accountable. The new Home Secretary should get his priorities right and drop this costly, unnecessary, unwanted and distracting reorganisation.” (Policing Minister – Nick Herbert MP)
If there really is so much public opposition to regionalisation in England & Wales, why does it appear a little more palatable in Scotland? Could it simply be their politicians are adopting a Scotland the brave stance and grasping the thistle or, perhaps they’re not so dependant upon public opinion as English ones?
The lack of public support in England and Wales for mergers has been fuelled by ACPO and local political self-interests. Any amalgamation or regionalisation would obviously entail loss of ACPO posts, never mind the decline in police authority posts for local politicians… Turkey’s don’t vote for Christmas! Back in July this year my local newspaper ran an editorial comment which suggested that public opinion is changing.
Locally accountable and accessible police officers are what people want. What emblem they wear on their helmets is neither here nor there. (D&S Times)
As Scotland only has eight police forces, it wouldn’t require much to create a national force, obviously the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS) would be desimated however, would that be such a bad thing? If amalgamations do go ahead in Scotland, surley it can’t be long before the the politicians south of the border develop the backbone of their Gaelic peers, can it?
What’s the betting police chiefs in England and Wales are sweating a bit whilst awaiting the outcome in Scotland… Hopefully!
Sassenach – a word used chiefly by the Scots to designate an Englishman. It derives from the Scottish Gaelic Sasunnach meaning, originally, “Saxon”, from the Latin “Saxones”; it was also formerly applied by Highlanders to (non-Gaelic-speaking) Lowlanders. As employed by Scots or Scottish Englishspeakers today it is usually used in jest, as a (friendly) term of abuse. The Oxford English Dictionary gives 1771 as the date of the earliest written use of the word in English. (Wikipedia)
- Full independence will save Scotland from worst of cuts, says Alex Salmond (guardian.co.uk)
- Salmond puts SNP second term case (bbc.co.uk)
- Police will catch more criminals with smaller budgets and fewer officers, says Nick Herbert (telegraph.co.uk)
- The thinner blue line – police warning over 25% budget cut (guardian.co.uk)
- Police forces facing ‘deep cuts’ to number of frontline officers (guardian.co.uk)