Friday, 9 September 2011

Police & Fire Reform Plans Annouced

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill announced the Government's plans to create single police and fire services against a backdrop of growing opposition from Local Government, COSLA and the Scottish Police Federation. Crucially, however, there was widespread support for the plans within the chamber with only the Lib Dems criticising the move. Mr MacAskill said:

"The status quo was not sustainable - we cannot afford to keep doing things eight times over. To do nothing would [lead] to massive reductions in police numbers and an attack on terms and conditions."

"A regional model would have been cumbersome, bureaucratic and would not have delivered the same benefits as a single service. The worst of both worlds. That left the single service option as the best way forward for the services."

The creation of single police and fire services is the Government's first serious foray into structural reform in public services. During its first term, the Government's PSR plans were consigned to rationalising public bodies and establishing a new concordat between central and local government. According to the Government, these plans will:

- Deliver estimated savings of £130 million a year and £1.7 billion over 15 years.
- Reduce duplication and overheads across eight police and eight fire & rescue services.
- Establish a strong, formal relationship between each service and each of Scotland's 32 local authorities, creating designated local officers for each council area who will work with the Council and other partners to meet local priorities and needs
- Ensure clear separation between Ministers and the operational responsibilities of services.

You can watch coverage of these plans on Newsnight Scotland which includes an interview with CSPP board member Richard Kerley (4minutes in).

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