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General Election 2015: Scots opposition leaders set out police priorities

Opposition leaders all addressed rank-and-file officers at Turnberry.
Opposition leaders all addressed rank-and-file officers at Turnberry.

Scottish opposition leaders set out their priorities on law and order ahead of the general election.

Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, Liberal Democrat Willie Rennie and Labour’s Jim Murphy all made pitches at the Scottish Police Federation (SPF) conference yesterday.

Ms Davidson said her party’s key priority would be to scrap automatic early release.

“Nobody understands why a judge’s sentence should be immediately slashed the moment a criminal is sent down,” she said. “It has eroded faith in our justice system and it needs to stop.”

Mr Rennie used his speech to criticise the operation of the single police force and said SPF members were right to be frustrated as they had been “let down”.

“This government is focused elsewhere rather than using the powers it has to do the serious job of sorting out the sorry mess it created,” he said.

“We need to have confidence that decisions are rooted in the evidence of what works locally. We need to have confidence that decisions aren’t based on political dogma or quick fixes designed to boost figures.”

Mr Murphy told the conference he had spent time on patrol with officers and believed in stop-and-search as a deterrent.

He said: “We need a mature conversation about this rather than a media fire storm. Police officers have been carrying out these searches in an experienced and professional way. We need to codify the rules to respect the rights of individual freedom.”

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