Yes vote will give Scotland the chance to build an excellent security service
A Yes vote in next year’s independence referendum will give Scotland the opportunity to build a first-class intelligence and security service that meets our needs and priorities.
Rejecting claims by Home Secretary Theresa May that an independent Scotland’s ability to detect and prevent terrorist and criminal threats might be reduced, Yes Scotland Chief Executive Blair Jenkins said: “This amounts to yet another Project Fear fiction from a Tory minister on a flying visit to talk Scotland down.”
Mr Jenkins pointed out that only a few days ago the former police chief in charge of counter-terrorism in Scotland had declared that an independent Scotland would be able to create an “excellent” intelligence and security service.
Allan Burnett, who was the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS) Co-ordinator of Counter Terrorism from 2008-10, said he had witnessed first-hand “the great Scottish talent in military, secret and police intelligence services, and can readily envisage the huge ability, energy, integrity and innovation they would pour into this exciting mission.”
He said the starting position for security experts was to establish the threats faced, and their probability and impact.”
Mr Burnett said: “I believe an independent Scotland would face less of a threat from terrorism for a number of reasons. We would not add to international tension by taking part in illegal wars, and as a nuclear-free state potential terrorist targets would be removed from our country.”
Mr Burnett’s previous roles, in a distinguished 30 year career, included being the Director of Intelligence, and Force Race Relations Officer for Strathclyde Police. He now works in the security industry.
“I have no doubt that an important part of the remit (after a Yes vote) would be to maintain and enhance existing relationships and build new ones. Our friends, including those south of the border, will want Scotland as allies as much as we want them. Our Scottish intelligence service will be welcomed as a professional, trusted ally.
“UK security is a long way from being perfect. Multiple organisations fight for power and influence, and inappropriate UK Government interference is rife. Trust and information sharing can be lacking - witness the struggling Borders Agency. There is a great opportunity for an independent Scotland, where cooperation is a reality and not just an aspiration, to do very much better.”
Mr Jenkins said: “Security is very much a matter of international cooperation and we look forward to Scotland’s security services playing their part. As our nearest neighbours, we can expect a particularly close working relationship with the security services of rUK, to our mutual best interests.
“That makes sense for Scotland and for the rest of the UK and Theresa May knows it.”
A new academic study by the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, has found that a clear majority – 60% of people – believe that the Scottish Government should determine Scotland’s immigration policy, reinforcing the Yes campaign’s case that Scotland’s future should be in Scotland’s hands.
The bedroom tax was voted against by Scotland’s MPs, and is opposed by the Scottish Parliament and Government. It’s clearer than ever that only with a Yes vote can we see an end to Tory policies like the bedroom tax and poll tax.
The Tory chairman of the Westminster Defence Select Committee has questioned whether Trident replacement is “an appropriate use of very scarce resources.”
An expert report published today concludes that a Scottish Defence Force has the potential to “deliver a better defence for the citizens of Scotland”, and could be “delivered for less than Scottish taxpayers currently pay”.