Local MSP John Finnie, Scottish Greens Justice Spokesperson, has raised further concerns around the performance of the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) at the Justice Sub-Committee on Policing and has urged Michael Matheson the Cabinet Secretary for Justice in the Scottish Government to take action.
John Finnie said:
“The Cabinet Secretary for Justice must take urgent action following this report to ensure that there is public confidence in the Scottish Police Authority and to enable it to perform its vital function effectively.”
John Finnie who was himself a serving police officer had taken issue in a previous sub- committee meeting about a report on the governance of the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) where he advised Andrew Flanagan the chair of the SPA to consider his position. Andrew Flanagan has now decided to step down once a replacement can be found.
Andrew Flanagan was appointed Chair of the Scottish Police Authority in September 2015. A lay member of the SPA Board, Moi Ali, resigned earlier on this year claiming that she was being excluded from meetings for raising concerns about the transparency of the SPA.
The latest meeting of the Sub-Committee took evidence from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary Scotland (HMICS) on their review of the SPA.
Mr Finnie raised concerns around the SPA’s lack of collaboration with police staff associations and trade unions.
Further concerns around the board’s support for the current chair, Andrew Flanagan, despite the clear lack of confidence expressed by two parliamentary committees, were also highlighted by Finnie.
Mr Finnie also questioned Derek Penman, the Chief Inspector, as to whether he had confidence in the Chief Executive of the SPA. Mr Penman replied that the Chief Executive struggled with “limited capacity.”
John Finnie said:
“It is imperative the Scottish Police Authority engages regularly with the Scottish Police Federation, the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents and UNISON. It is extremely concerning that this does not currently seem to be happening effectively. I find it difficult to understand how the SPA can have an informed overview of policing if they are failing to do this.
“I was particularly concerned that the report referred to the SPA board member’s full confidence in the Chair. I find it difficult to believe that the board members, having seen the detailed concerns raised by two Committees of the Scottish Parliament, still express such support. This itself raises serious questions about the board.
“It is clear from the report, and the evidence provided to the Sub-Committee by Mr Penman, that the Chief Executive and the Chair of the SPA have a chaotic relationship. There are clearly issues around the capacity of the Chief Executive.