Today (Wed 8th October) Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray supported a motion of no confidence in the Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, tabled by the Scottish Labour Party.
Since his appointment in 2007, Mr MacAskill has been scrutinised for a number of controversial issues.
In the last few weeks, a number of locals raised their concerns with Elaine after the increased deployment of armed police on routine patrols in Dumfries & Galloway. Last week, Elaine welcomed a change of policy on the arming of police.
Less recently the Dumfries Police Control Room was closed, despite not seeking local consultation, which resulted in 30 local people losing their jobs.
Speaking in parliament today, Elaine Murray MSP said:
“Like others today I welcomed last week’s announcement from the Chief Constable that he had jettisoned his policy of deploying armed police officers on routine duties. But like many, including many of my constituents, I wonder how this situation arose in the first place, and why the checks and balances were not in place to ensure that such a controversial decision could be made without any consultation or discussion, why the Scottish Police Authority did not intervene and why the Justice Secretary stood aside and passed the buck.
“It isn’t just the decision to change policing policy in this respect which has caused outrage; it was the way it was done.
“There’s his role – or lack of it - in the closure of police counters and control rooms, the latter without local consultation. Mr MacAskill refused to meet with the 30 staff who lost their jobs at the Dumfries Police Control Room when he came to the town.
“He has stood aside when communities and politicians have expressed concerns over court closures, stop and search and the routine deployment of armed police, always excusing his inaction on the basis that these issues were operational matters for the Police.
“The Cabinet Secretary unfortunately does not seem to understand the difference between interfering and taking responsibility and showing leadership. It is for that reason we believe he should go.”