Scottish independence: Vote disorder reports 'exaggerated'

image copyrightScottish Police Federation
image captionScottish Police Federation chairman Brian Docherty

The group which represents Scotland's police officers has strongly criticised "exaggerated rhetoric" about disorder in the referendum campaign.

The Scottish Police Federation said some reports in the media had given the "preposterous" impression of impending "societal disintegration".

The federation said this was completely untrue and the debate had been "robust but overwhelmingly good-natured".

It also called for "level heads" and "respect" before Thursday's vote.

Federation chairman Brian Docherty said his members "should not be used as a political football" during the campaign.

'Tolerant citizens'

"As I have previously stated, the referendum debate has been robust but overwhelmingly good -natured," he said.

"It was inevitable that the closer we came to the 18th of September passions would increase but that does not justify the exaggerated rhetoric that is being deployed with increased frequency.

"Any neutral observer could be led to believe Scotland is on the verge of societal disintegration yet nothing could be further from the truth."

Mr Docherty said Scotland's citizens were "overwhelmingly law abiding and tolerant" and it was "preposterous to imply" that they would abandon these "virtues" by "placing a cross in a box".

image copyrightPA/Getty
image captionMr Docherty said both campaigns had been "robust but overwhelmingly good natured"

He continued: "At this time it is more important than ever that individuals, be they politicians, journalists or whoever, should carefully consider their words, maintain level heads and act with respect.

"Respect is not demonstrated by suggesting a minority of mindless idiots are representative of anything.

"One of the many joys of this campaign has been how it has awakened political awareness across almost every single section of society. The success enjoyed by the many should not be sullied by the actions of the few."

Mr Docherty appeal for police officers to "be kept free from the distractions of rhetoric better suited to the playground that the political stump".

He added: "If crime has been committed it will be investigated and dealt with appropriately but quite simply police officers have better things to do than officiate in spats on social media and respond to baseless speculation of the potential for disorder on and following polling day."

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