Police Scotland under fire after safety camera partnership take-over

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie

Police Scotland has faced criticism from politicians following its take-over of Scotland’s Safety Camera Partnerships.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie told The Courier that the move would centralise an important public service and heap more pressure on a national police force that is already under scrutiny.

It comes after a review of the Scottish Safety Camera Programme was undertaken in 2013/14, examining its delivery and outcomes.

Its recommendations included merging Scotland’s eight Safety Camera Partnerships into three regional organisations, and moving control of them from Transport Scotland to Police Scotland.

Safety Camera Partnerships currently receive £4.4 million in Scottish government funding, but it is not clear if that will change now that they are coming under the national police force.

The highlight report from the Scottish Safety Camera Programme review says there would be “no compulsory redundancies”, but does propose “streamlined funding and greater flexibility realised through direct grant funding allocation to Police Scotland through Scottish Police Authority”.

A spokesperson for Police Scotland could not say whether all staff members would be retained.

Mr Rennie said: “One of my greatest fears of creating a single police force is that senior management would appropriate more powers to the centre at the expense of local communities.

“It will only heap further pressure on Police Scotland, which is already struggling to deliver adequate support to centralised frontline services.

“Safety camera partnerships have played an important role in preventing and reducing road traffic accidents. Working across local public bodies has enabled information to be shared quickly and effectively.

“Removing this service from local hands could also remove the local understanding of where resources are needed.”

A spokesperson for Police Scotland told The Courier: “This decision was put out to full public consultation and was not a conclusion reached by Police Scotland alone.

“Local policing is at the heart of Police Scotland and the creation of a single policing service has allowed us to create a demand-led policing service that protects and enhances local policing for our communities.

“It also provides equal access to specialist resources, whether that is specialist police officers or equipment, no matter where or when the demand.”

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