Shetland Times Column

People have been asking why the nationalists suddenly got interested in fox hunting in England. They had previously said that this was the kind of issue that SNP MPs would not vote on. It has nothing to do with Scotland. That was a reasonable position. But then came the u turn and the political opportunism of the most blatant kind. Why?

As a political stunt it has dominated the news. That is a shame. Because the tragic deaths of 2 people on the M9 motorway near Stirling is far more important that the unspeakable chasing the uneatable. It is thought that John Yuill died when the car he was driving left the motorway. But his passenger Lamara Bell did not. She waited, badly injured, in the car for three days before Police Scotland investigated the incident which was reported to them on the day of the accident. Three days. Lamara Bell subsequently died in hospital. Two investigations are now underway into what went so tragically wrong.

These deaths are so serious for so many reasons. Police Scotland have admitted that there call handling system failed. Why?  As many former police officers have pointed out no such terrible incident has happened in the past. No one has waited three days before the Police arrived. One former officer said that this tragedy must mean that the entire structure of Police Scotland is reviewed. But the Scottish Government say all is well. They have no plans to review the very structure that they established. One of the dangers of a state police force created by the nationalists was the centralisation of call centres. People used to be able to call their local police station. No longer. Now with a single state police force a phone call is routed to a call centre.

Had the former structure of separate police forces existed a call reporting a crash on the Stirling motorway would have been picked up in the area. A police car would then have sped to the incident. A life might have been saved as the emergency services and the NHS would have had more time to treat the injuries incurred.

All these factors should be raised in the Scottish Parliament. A Parliamentary Committee should start a full, detailed investigation into Police Scotland. The independent investigations underway must be subjected to full, open scrutiny by MSP's. It is what a Parliament is meant to do. There can be no greater issue of importance than the suspected systemic failure of Police Scotland.

Sadly this latest tragedy adds to a catalogue of decisions that Police Scotland have taken which are troubling. The aggressive stop and search technique particularly towards young people. The routine carrying of guns by police officers. The misleading of a parliamentary committee by senior officers. Many warned of Strathclyde style policing being imposed across Scotland when the nationalists imposed this centralisation on the country. That is exactly what has happened. It is time that the Scottish Government accepted that their creation is not working.

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