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Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Senior Holyrood civil servants threaten Police Chiefs to withold information

Today's Herald newspaper has uncovered a story that key Holyrood civil servants are driving the policing agenda rather than letting the Police do their job.
Scotland’s chief constables have revealed they were urged by senior Holyrood civil servants not to reduce police numbers until this autumn, when a decrease could be blamed on Westminster spending cuts.
This is completely disgraceful and the senior civil servants concerned - Christie Smith, of the policing directorate within the Scottish Government, and Kenneth Hogg, another civil servant should be ashamed of themselves.

If they have acted under orders from SNP Ministers then this story will blow up even more, if they have acted alone then disciplinary action must be taken against them.  Civil servants must realise it is not they who are in charge.

I am completely prepared to accept (for now) that perhaps SNP Ministers were unaware of this, however the extra 1,000 police pledge by the SNP has been dogged with problems from the start.  Unfortunately the SNP don't have a great track record here!
Colin McKerracher, chief constable of Grampian Police and a former president of the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland, said he and other chiefs were increasingly concerned by civil servants driving their own agenda.
For the SNP this is somewhat embarrassing, having senior Police Chiefs coming out publicly against senior civil servants who intimated at a meeting to the police that if they didn't hold off reducing police numbers until the Autumn, allowing the civil servants to then blame the Westminster government they would withold the final tranche of a £40million Scottish government funding package.

These civil servants need to remember it is not them in charge of either the police or the Ministers and it is more embarrassing that they feel they can act in this manner without reprimand.

The Police are having to start allowing police officers to leave under natural wastage to balance the books.
Stephen House, Strathclyde’s chief constable, has already warned of a £16m deficit this year and £30m to follow, leading to a predicted 540 civilian job losses.
Following pressure from the Scottish Liberal Democrats today the Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill will make a statement to MSPs in Holyrood tomorrow on the matter of the civial servants.


Baxter Tocher said...

Thanks for the follow on Twitter.

As a politician, or someone who works with them, I thought you'd be aware that civil servants work for the current government, regardless of who they might be.

Naming civil servants in a newspaper article, and then a blog echoing their names in public, is pretty much taboo. It really would be better if you let the article sit as it does, and disagree (or agree) with the Ministerial line.

I see no evidence anywhere, (including here) to support the view that they may have done *anything* improper.

Disclaimer: I've worked for a number of administrations, and continue to do as I'm told.

Baxter Tocher said...

...and today, we've seen the beginning of what *your coalition* is doing to the police service in Scotland:

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