Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokeswoman Alison McInnes MSP today said a damning new HMICS report on policing in Edinburgh reveal a police service that is overstretched, under-resourced and struggling to deliver for people in Scotland’s capital.
The report found:
- Edinburgh has the highest crime rate and lowest detection rate in Scotland;
- During 2014-15 reports of housebreaking increased by 20.8%. The housebreaking rate in Edinburgh is now twice the national average. Following the dissolution of Edinburgh specialist housebreaking team, an operation to tackle it was introduced, ceased and then re-introduced.
- Overall confidence and satisfaction in service delivery in Edinburgh is declining and is below the national average;
- Providing temporary cover to other Police Scotland divisions and policing events equates to around 55 officers every day and impacts on the division’s capacity to meet public demand;
- Probationary constables make up 45% of response and community teams. All are working additional hours and many reported being exhausted after working additional hours to the extent that it was affecting their eating and sleeping patterns and their ability to maintain fitness.
- Average response times for priority 1 and 2 calls, the highest priority calls, have increased.
The report called for a review of current resourcing arrangements.
Commenting, justice spokeswoman Alison McInnes MSP said:
“When Police Scotland was created we were told a national force would make it easier to share frontline resources at times of high demand. Now we know that robbing Peter to pay Paul and providing temporary cover elsewhere has left Edinburgh scrabbling to meet public demand.
“This report paints a picture of a Police service that is overstretched, under-resourced and struggling to deliver for people in Scotland’s capital. Probationary officers are working such long hours that they are finding it difficult to stay fit and healthy.
“Response times for the most serious calls have gone up, not down. Public confidence in the service has fallen. Housebreaking has increased as the specialist operations to tackle the problem were called off, on, off and on again.
“For officers, staff and the Edinburgh public, the creation of Police Scotland seems to have been all cloud and no silver lining. They will be astounded that just last week the First Minister again insisted that creating police Scotland had been the right thing to do.”