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SPA Chair Stands Down

Published : 18/06/2020 12:12:22

Susan Deacon CBE has tendered her resignation as Chair of the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) which has been accepted by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice.

Vice Chair David Crichton, who will provide continuing leadership to the Authority’s Board until a new Chair is appointed, said:

“The Members of the Authority wish to acknowledge the significant contribution that Susan Deacon has made as Chair of the SPA over the past two years. She took up the role at a period of considerable instability in the police service. That Police Scotland now has a strong, resilient leadership team in place is testimony to her contribution to the improvement of policing in that period.

“We believe that the system of governance and accountability for policing in Scotland that was envisaged by the founding legislation is a sound one and can work effectively. Members of the Authority are fully committed to taking forward the range of work required within the SPA and with other partners to do so.

“While we respect this personal decision of the Chair, our collective focus will be on working together with our dedicated staff team to build on recent progress, deliver the actions and improvements already identified, and redouble the SPA’s focus on the issues of greatest importance to policing and the public.”

The full text of Ms Deacon’s resignation letter to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice can be read below:

Humza Yousaf MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Justice
Scottish Government
St Andrew’s House
Regent Road
4 December 2019

Dear Humza

I write to tender my resignation as Chair of the Scottish Police Authority.

I consider it a privilege to have played a part in developing and strengthening policing in Scotland and I am pleased that I leave this role with our police service in a much stronger place than it was when I was first appointed, exactly two years ago.

I have, as you have frequently acknowledged, worked tirelessly to try and ensure that the SPA operates effectively, and that public confidence and trust in policing is maintained. I have also made every effort to attempt to make the existing statutory framework operate as I believe it was intended.

In truth, however, I have increasingly become convinced that the governance and accountability arrangements for policing in Scotland are fundamentally flawed, in structure, culture and practice, and I conclude that there is little more I can do to make these arrangements work effectively. I would suggest that the Scottish Government thinks afresh about how the police service is scrutinised and held to account and how, or if, a better separation between politics and policing, and indeed between the police service and those who oversee it, can be achieved. I would be pleased to share my thoughts and reflections on these matters with you, and indeed with the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee, at any time.

May I thank you for the opportunity to have served in this role and hope that our police service continues to develop effectively in the future.

Kind regards

Susan Deacon CBE

Response from the Cabinet Secretary for Justice -