Concern over cuts to police copter flights

27 Dec 2019

Concerns over more police cuts have been raised after it emerged force helicopters have significantly reduced the number of journeys they make.

Research by the Scottish Conservatives has revealed the aircraft have only been dispatched an average of 133 times per month in 2019.

That’s a five-year low, and a significant reduction on last year, when it made 153 journeys each month.

Compared to 2016, the drop is more than 28 per cent.

It costs Police Scotland thousands of pounds every time the helicopter is sent up and, with the organisation under increasing financial pressure, there are fears the decision has been taken to cut costs.

Shadow justice secretary Liam Kerr urged the SNP government to properly resource the single force, amid fears that budget cuts are impacting on operational decisions.

As it stands, Police Scotland is one of the most badly-funded forces in the UK.

Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary Liam Kerr said:

“It’s not cheap to send out a police helicopter, and clearly the decision is being made somewhere to reduce the number of journeys it is making.

“That’s against the backdrop of an SNP government which has not properly resourced our police service for years.

“We already knew the nationalists’ neglect of Police Scotland was putting additional strain on officers and the brave work they do.

“Now we can see the impact on operational decisions too.

“Police helicopters play a vital role in detecting crime, so it’s extremely concerning to see an increasing reluctance to call upon that resource.”