Local Policing Act

Local Policing Act

Our Local Policing Act will put bobbies back on the beat.

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So far this financial year, violent crime is up on the pre-pandemic high recorded in 2019-20. There have been 7,429 violent crimes recorded in Scotland between April and December 2021. When compared to the same period in 2019, this is an increase of 238. The 2019-20 financial year saw the highest level of violent crimes in eight years.

Under the SNP, the number of police officers in Scotland has hit its lowest level since before the formation of Police Scotland. The latest statistics show that as of 31 December 2021, there were 17,117 full-time equivalent police officers across Scotland. This is the lowest figure recorded since March 2009.

This includes 650 fewer local police officers. Divisional officers are the core local officers who patrol streets and respond to calls. Twelve out of 13 local divisions have fewer divisional officers now than when Police Scotland was first created – with a total cut of 643 officers across Scotland since 2013 when the SNP merged Scotland’s police force. The numbers exclude specialist officers who are shared by different divisions.

Police Scotland are also having to use vehicles that date back to the 1980s. The oldest vehicle in Police Scotland’s range is 33 years old, starting its life in 1989. It is one of 565 vehicles – nearly one in seven of the overall fleet – that are over a decade old. This comes as the SNP Government prepare to cut Police Scotland’s capital budget again for the next financial year.

The SNP Government’s latest budget reduced Police Scotland’s capital funding in real terms. The Scottish Conservatives called for a £35.6 million increase in capital funding for Police Scotland to spend on upgrading vehicles, stations and crime-fighting equipment. However, they have not provided any extra money to the Scottish Police Authority’s capital budget allocation this year and it remains at £45.5 million – a real terms cut.

Our Local Policing Act will boost street patrols. 

Rising violent crime and falling numbers of police patrolling our streets demonstrate the need to boost local police patrols to deter crimes. A Local Policing Act would require Police Scotland to set local targets for the number of hours police spend patrolling the streets and report on their progress.

Our Local Policing Act will keep local police stations open. 

More than 100 police stations have closed since the formation of Police Scotland and hundreds of frontline officers have been lost during the same period. Our Local Policing Act would ensure all communities across Scotland have a visible police presence by ensuring adequate resources reach local police stations and divisions. That, in turn, would make people feel safe in their communities.

Our Local Policing Act will ensure our police have the equipment and staff they need. 

We must ensure more officers are on the streets, instead of filling office vacancies, by adequately investing in support staff. We would support special constables and review their remuneration. We would also provide the full amount of capital funding which Police Scotland requested this year to invest in proper IT systems and the buildings and vehicles they need to operate effectively.

Our Local policing Act will give local communities a voice.

Communities have raised concerns that policing decisions are not subject to enough local engagement and scrutiny. Our Local Policing Act would establish new formalised links between local communities and police to allow for greater public input into the policing decisions that affect them.

 

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