When MSPs voted to sieze policing from 32 democratically elected local councils across Scotland, councillors warned this would give power to the unelected and the unaccountable – and this has proven to be true, writes Mel Kelly.
From October 2012, an unelected body of 13 hand-picked people was handed power over policing across the whole of Scotland – and now they are immediately using the undemocratic power, they now wield, to follow an agenda that appears to have more to do with the needs of property developers and G4S than a policing strategy for Scotland.
Already this undemocratic body is operating with 12 people instead of 13, as Former Deloittes man, Robert Wilson resigned from the new Scottish Police Authority board in December, just 2 months into the job! So who does that leave?
One of the SNP appointments to the Scottish Police Authority board, is a director of an English Property Development company, based in Oxford – and already police properties, in prime sites of towns and cities all across Scotland, are being sold off at break neck speed.
As well as boasting she is on the board of the new Scottish Police Authority, property develop director, Lisa Tennant, also claims on her LinkedIn profile she is an Executive Director of Ayrshire Private Partnership Ltd – but there is no record of this woman on the board of directors of this company .
The SNP government have also hand-picked a member of David Cameron’s Cabinet Office to wield power on the Scottish Police Authority board.
Moi Ali was appointed as Public Appointments Ambassador to David Cameron’s Cabinet Office in 2010 and is also a member of various review bodies for England’s Lord Chancellor.
Since David Cameron appointed her to his Cabinet Office in 2010, the SNP have appointed Moi Ali to not only the new Scottish Police Authority board but the Scottish Ambulance Service Board and the new Education Scotland board, formed by the SNP in July 2011 as well.
Who would have thought the SNP government would give a woman in David Cameron’s cabinet office such power in 3 separate Scottish government Quangos they control – so much for devolution and SNP claims they will protect Scotland from Tory appointed people!
Kenny MacAskill previously appointed this same woman as Scotland’s first Judicial Complaints Reviewer, a position created by the SNP in 2008, but Moi Ali has recently announced she is stepping down from the position in August 2014, complaining this job gives her “no power to make things different or better”.
Ask the 212 Police Control room staff all across Scotland (who actually make it better) if they think Ms Ali’s new power in the Scottish Policy Authority is making things better for them after her decision this week that they should all be forced out of their jobs and lose their livelihoods, just to allow the Scottish Police Authority Board to sell off the publicly owned buildings they work in.
Another SNP appointment is Brian Barbour, an IT Specialist and former consultant for Bank of Scotland and Tesco Bank who also worked for Standard Life and IBM for years – will IBM benefit from a huge IT contract to cover the whole of Scotland’s police force – with their former employee now in an unelected position of power to award it?
Another shocking appointment to the Scottish Police Authority board is that of David Hume – the former Chief Executive who presided over debt ridden Borders Council for years.
David Hume slunk off on paid sick leave after questions were asked regarding his high spending on council credit cards – and while on sick leave he got his lawyers to “negotiate” a secret pay off which netted him £318,000 in August 2011 – facts David Hume and Borders council did their best to keep secret from local taxpayers for a full year – before persistent freedom of information requests eventually exposed the shocking extent of the secret deal in 2012.
Another unelected member of the SNP’s Scottish Police Authority board is Ian Ross, a former Lib Dem Councillor who decided not to stand for election in May 2012 – why stand for re-election as a Highlands councillor when you can wait a few months and get handed power for policing the whole of Scotland instead – without one single person voting for you!
Along with the above, a former Procurator Fiscal, one Labour, two SNP and one Tory councillor (with lots of other Quango appointments between them) have also been appointed to the board.
The Scottish Police Authority board, which has immediately set about selling off Scotland’s Policing Infrastructure and proposes sacking 212 Scottish Police staff, is headed by Chairman Vic Emery, a man also used to being appointed to multiple unelected Scottish Quangos.
While Vic Emery, who is reported to earn about £9000 per month for this role as Chairman of the Scottish Police Authority board, attempts to sack 212 dedicated police employees, it was reported this week in the Herald, he has been accused of “cronyism” and abusing his position of power on the board after his long term business partner, Elaine Walker was handed a six month contract with the authority, estimated to be worth up to £28,000, for a job that was not even advertised.
And while he hands a high paid job and taxpayers’ money to his long term business partner, it was revealed this week Emery actually wanted to close all but one of the police control rooms – sacking even more of dedicated Scottish workers (which would allow him to sell off even more police infrastructure) despite the fact this could bring the whole of Scotland’s policing to a halt should there be power failures or other possible disasters?
Kenny MacAskill has already confirmed, in writing, companies like G4S can now be “brought in” as and when there are “staff shortages” in policing in Scotland – a situation Senior Scottish Police Officers and the new Scottish Police Authority are making sure happens, as they propose to sack up to 212 dedicated public sector police staff all over Scotland without public consultation.
Is the closure of all these Police Control Rooms in Scotland designed to meet the G4S chairman’s desire to take over policing in Scotland and are the decisions to “streamline” the service (which would make it more profitable for companies like G4S) being made by the same Senior Police Officers that were reported to have held secret talks with G4S?
Apparently, the people of Scotland are not allowed to know – as Scottish Police, Scottish “Justice” secretary Kenny MacAskill, a member of the Scottish “Justice” Committee and the Chairman of G4S all believe this should be kept secret – as all repeatedly refuse to name the Senior Scottish Police Officers who held secret talks with G4S regarding G4S desire to take over multiple functions of Scotland’s entire police force.
And with Scottish Police in control of the security budget for the Commonwealth Games, they chose to give G4S a contract for the games, despite the fact at the time the company was under police investigation in England after they were caught making fraudulent claims worth £millions for tagging non-existent offenders and the disaster the company made of the Olympic Games Security – again trying to claim money for services they did not deliver.
It has taken just 4 months for Kenny MacAskill, Senior Scottish Police Officers and the unelected Scottish Police Authority to bring the whole of Scotland’s policing into disrepute – with the past 4 months already demonstrating those who objected to Police Reform at the consultation stage were right and every MSP who voted for this were completely wrong .
There should be no place in Scotland’s police force for property developers, cronyism, shamed council executives and Senior Police Officers holding secret meetings with G4S (with senior MSPs covering up the dirty deeds), nor is there any place in Scotland for an unelected, undemocratic body to be formed to sack Scottish workers and sell off Scotland’s police infrastructure – to suit private property developers and a private security company waiting in the wings.
That is NOT democracy – but SNP, Labour and Tory MSPs made it possible and they are responsible – and they must answer for this to the Scottish people – and immediately repeal the bill and return policing back into the safe hands of our democratically elected councillors whose priority was policing not property development and contracts for their pals in the private sector.
True Democracy is about the spread of power to ensure one branch does not accumulate too much power– which is exactly why events of the past 4 months have proven the power for policing should be handed back to our 32 councils – because Kenny MacAskill, Senior Police Officers and the 12 members of the unelected Police Authority Board have demonstrated they are not fit to have so much power in so few unelected hands.