Scottish Liberal Democrats have said the Chief Constable must to listen to frontline police officers after a critical independent report today revealed that the morale of police officers in Ayrshire was being damaged by constant pressure to conduct stop and searches.
An HMICS inspection of Police Scotland’s Ayrshire division said: “Whilst we acknowledge KPI and performance targets are strongly reinforced in the division we noted that some officers and staff felt that the emphasis on targets had unintended consequences.” It went on to note that officers within the force felt that the use of stop and search was prioritised disproportionately over other valuable police work that was not measured.
The findings in the report chime with warnings from the Scottish Police Federation over a targets culture.
The report also found that officers raised concerns of a lack of face-to-face dialogue with senior officers.
Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Alison McInnes MSP said:
“This alarming report corroborates concerns from the Scottish Police Federation over a targets culture on stop and search in Scotland’s national force. Local communities will be worried that police officers are being diverted towards using stop and search instead of tried and tested means that are more appropriate for their area.
“HMICS makes clear that this one-size-fits-all approach to policing is having a direct impact on the morale of frontline officers. It seems to flatly contradict the Chief Constable’s suggestion that there is no targets culture. A targets culture isn’t fair or fitting for police officers or the communities they serve. It is overdue that Chief Constable listened to these voices.”