Police numbers revealed for Northern Constabulary
North Labour MSP, Peter Peacock, has slammed the minority SNP government on police numbers after an answer to a Parliamentary question revealed that Northern Constabulary would only get 8 additional police officers next year, far less than the SNP promised at the election.
He said, "The SNP made great play during the election about the huge number of extra police they would recruit.
"They promised 1,000 extra police officers but it is now clear that is another promise they have broken.
"We now know that next year the Northern police will only get money for 8 officers.
"With Northern containing the fastest growing city in the UK and at least 10 major population settlements, together with the largest rural area in Britain, these extra officers will be spread so thinly they will be hardly noticeable.
"The people of the Highlands and Islands should have had 60 new officers from the SNP promise - their rightful share of the extra 1,000 police officers.
"The 8 they have confirmed is only a tiny fraction of that.
"At a time of rapidly growing population compared to the rest of Scotland the Northern police should be getting an increase under any circumstances, so its not clear to me these police numbers will actually be truly additional anyway."
Peter Peacock went on to cast doubt over whether in fact any extra police officers will be recruited over the coming four years.
"Over the next four years there are 2,300 police officers due to retire in Scotland and the SNPs Justice Minister has indicated that the new police officers recruited may not be enough to overtake those retiring.
"Northern police are no different and it is hard to see how the rate of retirals will not be as great as this rate of recruitment and that could potentially leave us with no more and possibly fewer police in the years to come.
"I know the Chief Constable will do his best to ensure we do get extra police, but he has a tough job to do.
"By short changing the police, the SNP have put extra police numbers in jeopardy and that is a betrayal of the promises they gave at the election."
Returning to a theme he has been championing recently, to see a dedicated wildlife crime unit in Northern, he said,
"Had the extra police number promised come through it would have made the Chief Constable’s opportunity to gear up the fight against wildlife crime, as well as the fight against drug crime that bit easier.
"People will feel very let down by the minority SNP government on all of this."
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