Western Isles MSP, Alasdair Allan, has used the visit to Stornoway of Minister for Community Safety, Fergus Ewing, to call for the Western Isles to have its own Police Board.
Dr Allan, who will be accompanying the minister today (Tuesday) on a visit to both the police and fire stations in Stornoway, said he believed that a restructuring of the police in Scotland would provide a chance to introduce more direct local accountability for people in the islands.
Alasdair Allan commented: “I know that Fergus Ewing is impressed by the 43% reduction in recorded crime in the Western Isles in the last four years. His visit to the police here today will provide a chance to highlight the work which the police and the community have done together to achieve this. His visit to the fire station is also recognition of the hard and often dangerous work done by both full-time and retained fire fighters in the islands.
“With the reform of the national structure of both the fire and police services now firmly on the agenda, I believe we have a historic opportunity to introduce some real local accountability to these services. Northern Constabulary’s Police Board presently covers a vast area of Scotland.
“If the current review of police structures results in a single police force for Scotland, then we should take the chance to ensure that local Chief Inspectors are accountable to genuinely local police boards. In our case that means a police board for the Western Isles, with Western Isles councillors and community representatives on it.
“That way we can ensure that the Western Isles has real community involvement in what the police do, and will continue to see the crime rate fall in this part of Scotland.”