Policing review should be wide-ranging

When senior members of the Scottish Government admit that the creation of a single police force has presented challenges and concerns, it is as good as acknowledging that the concept has been a disaster for community policing.

So what then will the proposed national review come up with, apart with telling us that for the far-flung regions outside Glasgow the single force has not been of benefit to them.

Much as I like the idea of working together, it cannot be at the expense of tried and trusted systems in particularly rural areas like Aberdeenshire.

I just hope the review will not exclusively focus on the much-publicised M9 incident and officers’ failure to respond to reports of a fatal crash.

This one-off incident can almost certainly be attributed to a communication problem. The inquiry should in my opinion be addressing some of the major deficiencies in the service, or more specifically what we lost when we opted for a single force.

Crime prevention has in the past been at the heart of good policing, and in particular the input of local officers to our education system through school visits which made for good communication between police officers on the beat and our many schoolchildren throughout the Shire.

My education sources tell me there has been a major erosion of this most useful public service, adding that it can only get worse, producing a nation of youngsters who will never have meaningful, forward-thinking dialogue with the police.

I also fear that local community councils will be denied monthly updates from a service which actually used to pride itself in its community involvement.

But the most telling figures are the ones which show us that recruitment is becoming a major issue, particularly when the force is faced with many officers taking early retirement from a service we have undermined with this thoughtless legislation of one force.

The politicians were well warned of the problems, but chose to ignore them, ploughing ahead, leading us to the current situation of having to review the entire concept after a relatively short time, surely an indication that they might just have got it wrong. I just hope our politicians have the bottle, not to mention the integrity to take appropriate action, which in my book means handing back power to the old forces throughout Scotland.

The police are integral part of community life as we have known it for nearly 200 years. Robbing us of such a valued local resource was not called for.