Police numbers to be cut in the North
The SNP’s broken promise on police numbers is going to cost the Highlands and Islands almost 100 new police officers, claims north Labour regional MSP, Peter Peacock.
The revelation comes following close examination of the SNPs statements on their budget plans for police, following Wednesday's budget statement to Parliament.
Based on their share of the promised 1,000 extra police Northern Constabulary now won’t get the 60 new officers promised,
Moray will miss out on the 16 extra police officers they were promised, and Argyll and Bute will have 18 fewer than promised – all following the minority nationalist government’s u-turn in this week's budget on providing 1000 new police jobs.
Peter Peacock has revealed detailed figures for each of the main communities in the north to show "the full extent of the broken promise the SNP made to the people of the Highlands and Islands".
He said: "The SNP promised 1,000 additional police officers in Scotland.
"That would have meant Northern Constabulary got 60, Moray 16, and Argyll and Bute 18. Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey could have expected 20 of those Northern police officers, Stornoway and the Western Isles six, Lochaber four, Orkney and Shetland five each, Ross-shire 11 and the far north 9 new police.
"Now the Justice Secretary has said he cannot guarantee any extra police at all, let alone the thousand he and Fergus Ewing promised just 7 short months ago.
"In fact he has even admitted there may be fewer police in 2011 than there are today - that is a disgrace.
"The extra officers, had they been delivered, could have helped the fight against drugs and organised crime and made our streets and towns safer.
"It could even have funded an increase in officers dedicated to fight wildlife crime.
"Instead of extra police the SNP are now saying that if they can persuade an officer to delay their retirement by a year or so they will be counted as a new police officer.
"It’s a con, a police officer with 25 years experience is now to be called a new police officer to try and let the SNP wriggle out of their commitment.
"That commitment was perfectly clear, it was for extra officers, not re-branded officers.
"Every government in recent years has taken initiative to get more police on the beat, for example by reforming court procedures which caught up police waiting around courts.
"The SNP promised to go further, to provide an extra 1,000 officers – now that promise has been ditched.
"Instead of adding to the efforts to fight crime and support police they have abandoned their commitment and pretending a re-branding and re-deployment of existing police is the same as their promise of 1,000 more police.
"With the biggest budget in Scotland’s history and twice as much money as Donald Dewar had available, there is no excuse – it seems the SNP never intended to keep this promise and Fergus Ewing, their Highland Minister responsible for police should be particularly ashamed he misled the electorate in the north at the election on this promise, a promise now broken.
"He should be hanging his head in shame.
"I will be seeking a meeting with the local Police Federation to explore with them what difference actually having an extra 94 officers across our area would have had on their capacity to deliver.
"The police do a superb job in protecting our communities and I want to know just how much more could have been achieved had the minority SNP government not broken this promise to the people of the Highlands and Islands."
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