Dangers of the thin blue line. Rank-and-file officers say public safety is at ... trends now
Public safety is being put at risk as Scotland’s cash-strapped police force is ‘asset stripped’ by SNP cuts, rank-and-file officers have warned.
David Kennedy, leader of the Scottish Police Federation (SPF), said a decade of cuts had ripped £2billion from the force’s budget.
He accused ministers of using the service as a ‘cash cow’ as they scramble to claw back money, leaving officers with ‘one hand tied behind [their] backs’.
The ‘slash and burn’ policy has resulted in dangerously low officer numbers, scores of stations shut and certain crimes no longer investigated in the North-East.
In an extraordinary intervention, Mr Kennedy said Police Scotland, set up by the SNP Government in 2013, was not seen as a ‘success’ by either the public or officers because it had not been ‘properly funded’.
Scottish Tory deputy justice spokesman Sharon Dowey said: ‘This damning verdict from rank-and-file police officers fully exposes the brutal damage a decade’s worth of SNP cuts to our police force has done.
David Kennedy says SPF members have complained about violence, lack of back-up, stress, burnout, anxiety, overwork and ‘pressure to cut corners’.
‘Officer numbers are around their lowest level in 15 years, over 100 police stations have been closed – and we’ve reached a point where certain crimes will no longer be investigated [under a pilot project in the North-East].
‘The buck stops with the SNP who must finally stump up the funding our police need to keep our communities safe.’
Speaking ahead of a meeting of the Scottish parliament’s justice committee today, when the police budget will come under scrutiny by MSPs, Mr Kennedy said: ‘We have been asset stripped and basically used as a cash cow.’
The SPF general secretary said