Current Affairs Politics

An Gharda Síochána na hAlban?

A few weeks ago I wrote that the move by the SNP government in Scotland to create a single national police force was as much about creating a strong sense of a separate Scottish identity as about good policing or the proper allocation of resources and it seems that Vikram Dood in the Guardian agrees with that analysis:

‘Scotland will have a single national police service, its government announced, seeing all of its eight forces merged.

The announcement by Alex Salmond, the first minister, is about much more than policing; it is about the break up of the union, and the “road to independence”, as one informed source put it.

Sources with knowledge of the drawing up of the plans freely accept that part of the reason for the merging of all eight forces into one is to build an institution that adds to Scotland’s sense of being a nation distinct and independent from England.

The aim is for the newly created Scottish police service to be in place at the latest by 2014, ahead of the likely date for the referendum on Scottish independence.

The national police service and fire service will be established before Scotland decides whether it wishes to become a full-blown nation.

While the public justification for a single Scottish force is greater efficiency, with savings being ploughed back into the frontline, among senior police figures involved in the plans there is little doubt about the real reason the idea was attractive to the Scottish Nationalist government in Holyrood.

“They hope to use one police force to build national identity ahead of the vote on independence,” said a senior source.’

All of which shows just how masterly the referendum game plan of Alex Salmond and his party colleagues really is and why in politics it is the long-thinkers and not the short-thinkers who ultimately win.


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