Absolutely. We have to remember that the joint programme board is made up of representatives of the Scottish Government, the UK Government and Police Scotland. At their latest meeting in February, they all agreed to recommend a pause to the Scottish Government. None of them could see the implementation of integration being achieved safely by
The intervention of my hon. Friend Kirstene Hair takes me back to where we are now, which is the pause. We are in a welcome place: the SNP, Police Scotland and the joint programme board all accept that the implementation date of
I cannot forget the response I received to a question that I put as a member of the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee; it came from Assistant Chief Constable Bernie Higgins. Almost exactly a year ago today, on
“To be frank, two years is a luxury, based on what we had to do to bring Police Scotland together, so I am confident that the transition would occur”.
Two years as a luxury and confidence from an assistant chief constable of Police Scotland—all now wilted on the vine. Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone has made it very clear, in his remarks to the joint programme board and since, that Police Scotland was not ready, that it was not a luxury to have two years to implement the integration and, therefore, that it is correct that we have now paused.