Action plan for rural Scotland

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Scottish Conservatives have launched an action plan for rural Scotland which includes a review of Police Scotland to ensure it is accountable to communities.

Their action plan, which calls for more powers and opportunities for all, looks at recent revelations surrounding armed police, stop and search and the number of officers on duty in the Borders have called into question the accountability of the new single police force.

Berwickshire MSP John Lamont is backing calls for a review of the national police force, including looking at the possibility of a two-tier police service, which would combine national strategic co-operation with local autonomy.

The conservatives’ announcement came after Police Scotland refused to provide detailed figures for the number of officers deployed in the Borders, following a Freedom of Information request from retired officer Harry Scott from Galashiels.

John Lamont said: “I did not support the legislation which established Police Scotland because I was concerned that there were insufficient safeguards in place to protect local accountability.

“Unfortunately these concerns have proved to be justified as communities in the Borders have been kept in the dark about important decisions such as arming police officers, stop and search and even police numbers.

“Clearly, this one-size-fits-all approach to policing isn’t working in the Borders and it’s about time we ensured that the rural approach to policing was protected and local accountability restored.”

Mr Lamont added: “That is why I support a wholesale review of Police Scotland. We need to consider what can be done to strengthen local accountability and provide much needed flexibility for rural policing.”