One constituent at Carfraemill asked for the candidates’ views on the ways that police deal with ‘doorstep’ and ‘nuisance’ crime in rural areas.
Such crimes, together with farm vandalism, the candidates were told, were becoming ever more problematic for farmers and landowners, given the public’s right of access to large areas of land.
Independent candidate Jesse Rae answered: “Police Scotland is not working.
“If we were able to perform a citizen’s arrest in Scotland, then I would have made one on Kenny McAskill [former Cabinet Secretary for Justice].
“I want to see Borders Police back in the Borders, and I would also like the return of the communication centres that were closed.”
The SNP’s Calum Kerr pointed out that, as with many things, and pointed out that the move to the Police Scotland model had allowed “access to shared and specialist forces” and “preserved frontline services” in the face of budget cuts at around 10%.
Pauline Stewart of the Greens took this opportunity to highlight what she described as the “centralist” policies of the SNP in Holyrood.
“We want services completely decentralised,” she said, adding that the Greens would also campaign for more responsibility to be devolved to local councils and communities.
Conservative candidate John Lamont summed up the situation: “101 is one example of the failure of service, and its lack of accountability.
“I have never known so many serving police officers coming to me and voicing their concerns.
“Morale is obviously very low.”