Tuesday 29 March 2016

The SPA Are Unnaccountable

The Scottish Police Authority (SPA) oversees Police Scotland. But who oversees the SPA?

Chris Marshall, a journalist from the Scotsman newspaper has asked the question about who is watching over the police service watchdog.

It's a fair question. Especially since the SPA have curiously decided to stop publishing board papers in advance - making it more difficult for journalists to get a heads up and keep track of what they're up to.

The SPA has already faced criticism for failing to properly scrutinise Police Scotland - and now the SPA appear to be making it more difficult for us to scrutinise them.

At a most basic level, the answer to who scrutinises the SPA is simple. It's the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) - who, in turn, are scrutinised by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.

Problem is, the SPSO can do nothing about your complaint except check to see that the necessary complaints procedure was followed.

In other words, they can't change the fact that the SPA or PIRC acted corruptly by throwing your complaint out.

If you also add to this the fact that in the real world we live in, Police Scotland, the PIRC, and the SPSO are littered with friends and connections of the SPA, you don't have to look very far to find the answer to the question about who scrutinises the SPA.

Answer: No-one.

Glad to have cleared that up then.