POLICING north and south of the Border has been the subject of criticism over recent weeks and there are issues that both the Metropolitan Police and Police Scotland must address. Things have happened that are simply unacceptable and cannot be tolerated. Equally, lessons need learned and the behaviour and attitude of a minority of officers must be challenged.

However, I have no hesitation in saying East Lothian is well served by its police officers and citizens should have no fears in approaching or contacting them. Police Scotland first and foremost is a service. They occasionally require to use force but they routinely attend unarmed even for incidents where they face great danger.

There are many parts of the world where you wouldn’t dream of asking an officer the time of day, let alone the numerous other requests made upon Police Scotland officers. But they invariably react to them with grace and good humour. They are under intense pressure, whether through Covid or because of other factors, but they seek to respond as best they can.

Every organisation can have individuals who may manage to join, despite the best efforts to root out those who would demean the ethos and be of harm. Politics, the clergy and the media have all suffered from such individuals and policing has been likewise. Lessons must be learned and procedures tightened, as well as far firmer action taken to suspend or remove those who do. Culture also needs challenged. Misogyny is sadly still far too prevalent in our society but it cannot be tolerated in our police. It’s not banter, it’s abuse and needs rooted out and those who do so removed.

But beyond that, Police Scotland is an organisation we can be proud of. It’s changing, of course, and when I attended Tulliallan a few months ago for the first time ever, the intake of recruits had a female majority. The actions of a few shouldn’t detract from the commitment of the many. East Lothians officers serve the community and we should have faith in them.