I SUSPECT that there is an important reason behind the retirement of so many police at the same time – pensions ("Force facing a shortage of senior staff as retirement rate soars", The Herald, May 4).

When it was discovered that the pension fund of police in England was paying out more than it was taking in, as it had not been invested, the pension arrangements and retirement age were altered to cope. Although this problem did not exist in Scotland, the same changes were made, with only those in post before an arbitrary date retaining the original conditions for a limited time.

Now many of these officers have calculated that the additional payments they would make from now up to the new retirement date would add up to far more than the extra pension they would receive as a result. Is it therefore not understandable that they have decided not to make these additional payments by retiring now?

Sadly, this situation and many of the problems Ian W Thomson (Letters, May 5) mentions are, in my view, the result of the foolish decision to appoint, as the first two Chief Constables, officers whose training and major career was in the Met, with no, or very little, background in or knowledge of Scottish policing. Too many other senior posts were also given to officers with similar backgrounds.

A prime example is the M9 car crash that remained unattended for three days. Sir Stephen House was well warned that his proposed centralisation of almost all call centre provision at Bilston Glen would cause difficulties through loss of local knowledge. He went ahead anyway, in the belief that the technology was an adequate substitute. So a huge number of experienced call-handlers took redundancy and a trainee, still learning the system, took that crucial call.

A redundant Stirling call handler of my acquaintance told me at the time that, because of his local knowledge, he would have asked two critical questions, which would have identified the area within a few hundred yards, allowing the accident to be attended almost immediately by local services.

You have previously carried analysis of the background of about 14 senior post-holders under Chief Constable House, of whom only a tiny proportion had any training in and experience of Scottish policing. He set up a system, based on the Met one, that was almost designed to result in failures and difficulties.

L McGregor, Falkirk.


MARK Smith's article ("The chaos at Jordanhill and the lessons we can all learn", The Herald, May 9) left me feeling annoyed and sad. As a former Jordanhill pupil, I had always felt a sense of pride in the ethos of the school but this has been seriously dented.

I can recall senior pupils emerging from the headmaster's study having been told that they had let down the school, their parents and not least themselves. Corporal punishment was seldom necessary as each pupil had a sense of identifying with the school tradition and parents were grateful that they had secured a place for their youngster and ensured the best possible foundation for their child's future.

If parents have out-sourced standards to the government of the day and a peer group, I suggest they pause and reflect if this is what they really want to pass on. It is apparent that standards are slipping and mental health is in decline. I just hope it is not too late to wake up and take back positive control of their youngsters' future.

Fancy holidays and an abundance of possessions will not prove adequate if (or when) difficult times come. It is a great gamble to hope that your child will be in the elite few with an over-abundance of assets and a select group of friends who will be a great resource for life unless one falters on the way and drops out of the group's standards.

James Watson, Dunbar.


WOMEN should be extremely alarmed by the state-sponsored misogyny that will allow grown men to invade our women-only changing spaces. We can only imagine the future horrors of this diminution of our privacy and rights.

Consider the irony of the position that doesn’t allow boys over the age of eight into women's changing areas in most gyms but will see grown men there.

Please spread the word and let your friends and politicians know that this isn’t acceptable .

Elizabeth Crombie, Milngavie.


THE Roe v Wade case has caused a lot of controversy. But now Planned Parenthood, a prominent US pro-abortion organisation, has waded in. On abortion, one of its web pages says “we believe your body is your own”.

It had already waded in to the Covid vaccine issue, putting out lots of information designed to persuade people to get vaccinated and launching a $2 million campaign. Yet at no point in its vaccine information does it say “your body is your own”.

Geoff Moore, Alness.


IN response to Robin Dow's letter about music (May 7), Billie Holiday's Strange Fruit is certainly not light entertainment, whatever that is; it is a cri de coeur. When Mozart's Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro sings of his present discomfiture, surely he is describing his Lovesick Blues?

I suggest this is art and entertainment both. Why categorise them?

Irene Conway, Giffnock.


I WAS disappointed to see Maureen Sugden ("Issue of the day: Is your neighbourhood posh?", The Herald, May 9) perpetuating the origin of POSH as Port Out, Starboard Home and the notion that tickets were stamped with that.

The word was used in different senses before it came to mean well-off, and may in fact come from Romani. All the reputable dictionaries dismiss the ocean liner story.

The ultimate clincher is the fact that no tickets have ever been found with that stamp on them – unless Herald readers have one in the attic?

Dr David Syme, Killin.


REGARDING a new name for Hull 802 (Letters, May 7 & 8), I have several suggestions: Dead Duck, Bridge of Sighs, A Bridge Too Far, Painted Windows 2, Clyde Duffer (apologies to Para Handy), Just Rusting Away (apologies to Simon and Garfunkel), Should Have Known Better (apologies to Jim Diamond), On the Crest of a Wave – Aye Right, and The Hulk.

George Dale, Beith.