WHEN I read that Chief Constable Iain Livingstone felt that “our commitment to policing by consent” among other principles was “worth sharing with the world” (“Police Scotland opens new international academy to train global officers”, The Herald, July 27) I was reminded of Orwell’s 1984 – “Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them”. To claim that Police Scotland is policing by consent while presiding over its deliberate withdrawal from public contact, alongside an abandonment of any attempt at preventing crime in favour of coming along later with grainy CCTV images to arrest the perpetrators, is classic doublethink.

When I retired from Strathclyde Police in 1998 there were seven territorial divisions in the City of Glasgow. Each had its own control room and at least three staffed police offices open 24/7. I could speak to someone who knew the area and the people. If I was responsible for any mayhem then I would at least be detained within walking distance of home. Now there is one division for the whole city. The offices are closed and sold, with the proceeds spent. The cost of replacing that level of community contact does not bear thinking about.

Now I have to telephone rather than speak face to face. I will be queued at a call centre where the operator will have little knowledge of my locality. I have to consider myself fortunate to be given an appointment some days later for an officer to take details of my complaint.

Just last week we were advised that Police Scotland had since early 2019 been maintaining a force of 225 officers who had been removed from local policing and placed on standby in case there is a big event (“Public order police squad on standby until spring”, The Herald, July 24). We are guaranteed that for at least three years the Chief Constable will have removed 225 officers from front-line duties just in case. He is creating his own unseen riot squad while lecturing unsuspecting foreigners of the need for them to make themselves known and available.

We have always had major events such as COP26. I was on the track at Hampden in 1981 during the "riot" which erupted onto the park. We did not retreat to the stand to watch the fight while filming for later investigation. We cleared the ground. We had an estimated 300,000 people attending Bellahouston Park in 1982 for a papal visit. It was planned for and dealt with. We had the Lockerbie disaster in 1988. It was unplanned but also dealt with. That is how police work is done.

The idea that you would remove so many officers from duty "just in case" is bad enough, but to withdraw all face to face access and then lecture developing nations about how to police with the consent and cooperation of the public is adding insult to injury.

Chris Keegan, Glasgow.


AS Celia Hobbs (Letters, July 26) correctly points out, “forget your designations and listings” as regards wind farm planning applications in Scotland, they don’t count for much.

Also apparently included in Scottish Government decision makers’ “list of things to forget” is people, particularly those who live in single dwellings closest to the proposed wind farms because they are sacrificed for the greater good. In other words, the climate emergency trumps all.

As for wildlife, it is always assumed that creatures will move somewhere else if their habitat is destroyed by wind farm construction but how long can that last? With applications spiralling out of control in Scotland and “cumulative effects” being largely ignored, a territory of their own will become more and more difficult to find. They are in the same position as affected people but to them it is a matter of life or death.

The Scottish Government mantra of “the right development in the right place” is a meaningless cliché.

Aileen Jackson, Uplawmoor.

* HOLYROOD keeps overriding local authorities when rural councils refuse planning consent for wind farms and the renewable sector claims that onshore wind energy is cheaper than gas. As OFGEM still allows wind farm electricity to be priced at 16p per unit whilst that of gas is 4p per unit there is currently a 12p per unit differential in favour of wind. Would it not therefore be an equitable solution for Holyrood to add an addition to planning applications that gives the 12p extra cost for every unit generated to the local council where the wind farm has been installed?

Ian Moir, Castle Douglas.


I THINK that we are beyond the point of doubting the capability of the Scottish Government, CMAL and Calmac to operate the West Coast's ferry services ("Bookings gridlock after emergency ferry calamity", The Herald, July 27).

Between the delays on resolving the Rest and be Thankful landslide issues and the constant ferry failures, one would imagine that our current Scottish Government is trying to shut down all routes to the West Coast. This has left a population and businesses, already struggling with Covid problems, losing much-needed employment and income, at a point in time when rules are relaxed enough to help recovery in those sectors. To think that there is concern about the possible demise of the Gaelic language, at the rate we are going there will be such an exodus, a clearance in effect, that there will be hardly anyone there to speak it anyway.

George Dale, Beith.


A BBC reporter has just announced that Olympic gold medallist Adam Peaty is the first Briton to defend his title. Many others have defended their titles; but successfully?

David Miller, Milngavie.