Leader: ‘A local bobby is important to communities’

Local accountability has been raised as an issue.

Local accountability has been raised as an issue.

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the loss of local accountability was one of the main fears raised over a single Scottish police force.

And so it is not entirely surprising today that Edinburgh’s community safety leader highlights the issue as one of the main points for action in response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on police priorities.

Local councillors and community groups have been left feeling disconnected with the loss of the old Lothian and Borders Police Board. No longer is there an obvious outlet to raise local concerns.

Meanwhile, there are complaints about response time to incidents and the loss of local knowledge and relationships as officers are moved around the country.

The advent of Police Scotland has not been all bad by any means but both top brass and the Scottish Government need to take these concerns into account.

We need a police force which works with the community understanding its needs rather than a purely reactionary force responding to problems instead of working to prevent them before they occur.

We very much hope the responses to the consultation, which have been backed up by the Scottish Police Federation, leads to some firm action to address the failings of the single force model.

Cllr Day puts it well today when he says the underlying issue is local officers being moved along into another job after a year in the post.

“I would like community officer to be seen as one of the most important roles the police provide, and maybe not something people would want to move out of,” he says.

We agree.

The relationships which can be forged in areas across Edinburgh with local groups can make a real difference to the life of residents.

While there are national policing priorities to consider, we should not lose sight of the importance of the local bobby.