SNP must act in face of soaring police officer retirements

Scottish Liberal Democrat deputy leader and former police officer Wendy Chamberlain has today called on the Scottish Government to deliver a proper pay deal for officers and tackle soaring numbers of officers considering retirement, after Police Scotland have confirmed that the number of planned retirements is 69% above normal retirement levels when compared with the five-year average.   

A Scottish Liberal Democrat Freedom of Information request has revealed that 763 Scottish police officers plan to retire this year, compared to an average of 584 over the last five years. The research also revealed that 1,353 will be eligible to retire within the next twelve months.   

The increase in retiring police officers comes in the wake of Scottish Police Federation Chair David Hamilton describing stress levels as “critical” and the introduction of the McCloud Remedy, a landmark legal judgement which removes age-discrimination in public sector pension schemes.

Last week the UK Government accepted the recommendations of the Police Remuneration Review Body, meaning an overall rise of 5% for police officers in England and Wales and up to 8.8% for the lowest paid. The Scottish Police Federation’s joint central committee rejected a proposed wage increase of 1.4% for most officers and 2% for new recruits last month.

Responding to rising police officer retirements, Wendy Chamberlain MP commented:  

“Despite violent crime being on the rise, Police Scotland have been plagued by a shortage of resources and funding. Huge numbers of officers have had enough and are threatening to call it quits.  

“These numbers are a worrying example of how the government simply isn’t doing enough to maintain law and order across Scotland.

“Police Scotland need to retain skilled and experienced officers. Otherwise, the government will have to either rack up the costs of recruiting and training staff who don’t have the same breadth of experience or leave ever greater areas without any community policing.  

“A career in the police involves navigating complex pressures and high-level demands. That’s why the government must act to improve pay and conditions, while also conducting regular staff surveys, to put the welfare of officers at the centre of reform.”  

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