McArthur: falling numbers of police officers are alarming

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP has today called on the Scottish Government to take urgent steps to tackle the declining number of police officers across Scotland.

The call follows the publication of new statistics showing that the number of full-time police officers in Scotland has dropped to 16,610, which is the lowest level since the third quarter of 2008. 

According to the Police Officer quarterly strength statistics published today, the number of full-time police officers has fallen over the past several quarters. It decreased by 1.2% from March 2022 and by 3.9% since June 2021.  

This is now the lowest level of police officers since September 2008, when there were 16,526 full-time officers.  

Responding to the falling numbers, Mr McArthur commented:  

“These figures are alarming and come against the backdrop of rising levels of sexual and violent crime. It is not the sort of news that will reassure a worried public.

“After of years of patting themselves on the back over police officers numbers, SNP Ministers are now presiding over the hollowing out of our police force. Of most concern is the loss of so many experienced and skilled officers, leaving because they are sick and tired of the SNP’s broken promises and threats of further cuts. 

“It’s all a far cry from the SNP’s pre-election pledges to protect policing budgets.  

“The Scottish Government must commit to urgent action to turnaround this situation and avert a national emergency. That means improving pay and conditions, resourcing the service properly and placing the welfare and voice of officers at the centre of decisions about the future.” 

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