Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP has today warned the police’s Special Constabulary are a vanishing species after he revealed that their numbers have nosedived since the SNP’s police centralisation.
Scottish Liberal Democrat freedom of information requests have revealed there were 1,394 in 2013/14, but this has fallen to just 453 in September 2021, a decrease of 68%.
Special constables operate on a part-time and voluntary basis, exercising similar powers to police officers and helping boost the police’s presence in communities.
Mr McArthur commented:
“On the SNP’s watch, the special constable is now a vanishing species. At the current rate of decline there will be none left by 2025.
“Special constables perform a valuable role and enhance the police’s presence in communities across Scotland. It’s a shame to see a role with a proud history being allowed to wither away.
“We all know the pressures on police officers and staff, who we expect to step up in our moment of need. It is also clear from the most recent staff survey that they are struggling with exhaustion, stress and mental health problems. That makes it all the more important therefore to ensure they have the support they need.
“The SNP Government must now repair the damage done by its botched centralisation. That includes protecting the future of the Special Constabulary and giving officers and staff the resources that they need to do their jobs.”