Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP today claimed SNP Government boasts about police officer numbers shows a Government hiding from the real pressures within the service.
New quarterly statistics show police numbers are static but do not report the 2,000 civilian staff that have been lost since the SNP’s damaging centralisation of the police. Previously media reports also showed the national force boosting officer numbers in the lead up to the quarterly snapshot, having missed the minimum for the majority of a quarter.
These new statistics come a day after the Scottish Police Federation warned that budget cuts were putting officers and prisoners under increased pressure and damaging police officer mental health.
Commenting, Mr McArthur said:
“It is time ministers admitted that the publication of officer number statistics masks the real pressure that exists within Police Scotland. To ignore this fact shows a government running away from the real problem within our police service.
“These figures have never taken account of the fact that officers are being taken off the beat to cover shifts and roles previously carried out by civilian staff.
“Police officers and staff work incredibly hard, day in day out, protecting our communities. Instead of patting themselves on the back with this statistical sleight of hand, it is time SNP Ministers face up to the mess they made and gave the police the resources they need to do their jobs to the best of their ability.”