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Split Police Scotland into five regional units

Split Police Scotland into five regional units

Sir, – Now that the chief constable of Police Scotland is stepping down, there is an opportunity to take a long hard look at what the force has accomplished and where it goes from here.

No doubt, as has already happened, the fall in recorded crime will be trumpeted as a great success.

The crime figures should be taken with a large pinch of salt.

From my own experience, I know that people have given up reporting minor crimes as they feel it is not worth the effort.

Likewise, Police Scotland is decriminalising many things that were formerly recorded as crimes or are simply finding reasons why action cannot be taken.

Given the collapse of public confidence in policing in Scotland since the inception of Police Scotland, more of the same is surely not an option, as the force has proved itself to be cumbersome and inefficient when it comes to day-to-day policing.

It is not just the high-profile errors that require to be addressed.

Of even greater urgency is the need to reverse the almost terminal decline in policing in rural Scotland where a sighting of a patrolling police officer is a noteworthy event. It is noticeable that in some rural areas, thefts and housebreakings are occurring now where previously they were very rare events.

Equally, it cannot make sense on any level for one of the very few officers left in the East Neuk of Fife to be carted off to police a football match in Edinburgh, leaving the area even more depleted of police resources.

Merely appointing a new chief constable will not cure any of these problems.

Scotland is a small country but it is a very diverse one.

It is clear that the experiment in “one size fits all” policing has failed.

It is asking too much to restore the old police forces but there is a viable alternative to the current set up.

It should be broken up in to force areas that match those of the sheriffdoms.

This would give five forces of a workable size suited to the areas they serve with local oversight and input.

It would also restore the link between police and public which Police Scotland has severed.

As a bonus it would also get rid of thatdreadful force name.

George Thomson. 44 Viewforth Place, Pittenweem.

SNP meddling caused crisis

Sir, – Your disturbing report, Calls go unanswered as police staff stressed out (August 29) reflects the reality of poor performance suffered by people across Scotland not just in relation to the police, but also in health and education.

Years of SNP meddling, with badly thought through initiatives based on their controlling and centralising instincts, are resulting in widespread distress.

There seems little hope of the leadership of the SNP accepting responsibility.

Given they stifle criticism from their own MPs, MSPs and mass membership, the rest of us have little chance of being taken seriously.

For years, teacher and parent concerns about the negative impact of the Curriculum for Excellence in our schools have been ignored.

Equally, whether it is police and communities warning about the lack of local resources and accountability under the revised police structure, or parents aghast at the threatened state interference in families arising from named person legislation, the SNP leadership is not listening.

Instead, they focus on division and difference illustrated by the First Minister’s none-too-subtle intervention on the BBC last week and, while that is the case, we cannot expect decent levels of service to return.

Keith Howell. White Moss, West Linton.

Make more use of tidal power

Sir, – Several of your correspondents have been critical of theScottish Government’s commitment to green energy. I can agree with them on some issues, like the fact that when the winds doesn’t blow, we won’t get wind power, and when the sun doesn’t shine, we will not get much solar energy.

What surprises me is that there is not much more emphasis on the one source of green energy which never fails. I mean tidal energy generation.

The tidal currents are in constant motion around our coastline, never, ever ceasing.

Yes, there are four periods a day, at high and low water when the current briefly stops as it changes direction, but the beauty of tidal power is that slack waters do not occur at the same time everywhere, so the generation of electricity by tidal power is more or less constant.

For example, currently slack high water Stonehaven is at 0049 hours, but just down the road at Arbroath it is at 0131, a difference of 42 minutes in just that short distance, meaning that a turbine would be stopped at 0049 at Stonehaven, due to slack water, but a turbine at Arbroath would still be turning at the same time.

These tidal time differences happen all the way round our coastline, so there would never be a time when the vast majority of the turbines are not turning and producing electricity.

This beats wind and solar power hands down.

With some research, I am sure that generation turbines with the correct gearing would be able to generate a substantial percentage of Scotland’s electricity needs, if not all of it if there were enough turbines in place.

Also the turbines are under the sea and out of sight which would keep even the most view-conscious people, like Mr Donald Trump, happy.

What we must do is never forget that when we switch the kettle on we are dealing with finite resources and we cannot go on ever increasing our energy consumption as if the resources will last for ever.

They will not, unless they are from renewable sources. So we have just two options.

We either reduce our energy use, which nature may force us into eventually, or we must find ways of generating power which are totally renewable and reliable.

I feel that undersea tidal generation fulfils the need.

Captain Ian F. McRae. 17 Broomwell Gardens, Monikie.

Oil cash is still icing on cake

Sir, – Oil and gas revenue is again in the headlines with the call by Sir Ian Wood for tax breaks.

For those against Scottish independence, the drop in the oil barrel price since the referendum, now standing at around $45, is seen as proof that they were right, strengthening the case for the union.

When the oil barrel price is high, this is seen as positive for the case for independence, as it clearly boosts revenues.

What is often neglected is that the current state of Scotland’s finances is based on a situation where there is limited access to any of the fiscal levers open to other independent nations.

We cannot cut or increase corporation tax, we have limited control over income tax, and no control over excise duties, National Insurance contributions or Capital Gains Tax, to name but a few. Oil and gas revenues are therefore seen through the prism of plugging a budget deficit, rather than looking at the cause of the deficit itself.

The issue is not that of oil and gas revenues, but whether the fundamentals are in place to create a flourishing economy if Scotland was to have control of the full range of fiscal levers open to other countries, the vast majority of whom don’t have access to North Sea oil.

Oil and gas is a fantastic source of revenue but it should be looked at as the “icing on the cake”, and in our focus on this we are clouding theindependence debate.

Alex Orr. 77 LeamingtonTerrace, Edinburgh.

More Holyrood control scary

Sir, – John Swinney’s carping criticism of the UK Government’s economic strategy is absurd when growth forecasts for the UK economy have risen from 2.4% to 2.6 %.Also it was not “Tory austerity” but SNP incompetence which resulted in the shameful suspension of £46 million of EU funds meant for our public services.

After eight years, the SNP government’s dismal record is unmistakable in our schools where, according to their own statistics, standards of literacy and numeracy are plummeting.

Numbers studying key subjects like science and foreign languages are in steep decline while the gap between state and private education, narrowing down south, has widened in Scotland.

SNP mishandling of the devolved issues we already have like health, education and the police makes their future take-over of taxation and other fiscal matters a truly scary prospect.

Dr John Cameron. 10 Howard Place, St Andrews.

BBC gave too much balance

Sir, – Rather then reflect on the weak argument the SNP put forward for Scottish independence, Nicola Sturgeon appears happier to blame the BBC for the failure to win the referendum.

The BBC’s desire to offer balanced content was often what caused problems.

All too often, the opinion of world-leading experts who questioned the SNP’s assertions were balanced with opinion from nationalists who lacked credibility.

However, the BBC presented these people as equivalents.

The SNP’s Business for Scotland was presented as representing 200 Scottish businesses and was used to counter the judgment of multinational employers who dared to question the SNP’s proposals.

No mention was made of the fact that Business for Scotland largely comprised sole traders with no cross-border business.

Dr Scott Arthur. 27 Buckstone Gardens, Edinburgh.