The financially troubled single Force has cancelled all recruitment for the rest of the financial year, with the bombshell news emerging less than 24 hours after the angry prime minister accused rivals of lying about the police money crisis
Scottish police will cancel their plans to recruit 200 probationary officers in January, it was reported today. It comes less than 24 hours after Humza Yousaf accused rivals of lying about the scale of the force’s financial crisis.
The first minister was briefed by Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross and Scottish Labour Party leader Anas Sarwar at Holyrood on Thursday. He did not answer questions about how many front-line officers and police stations are being dismissed, and what crimes are no longer being investigated.
Clearly furious, he accused Mr Ross of lying and had to be apologised to by the president three times before finally apologising indifferently. Responding to the criticism, he said: “I will continue to ensure that Police Scotland is, of course, well funded.
Now the Herald reports that the recruitment cuts for new officers are expected to be announced on Friday. Scottish Conservative Justice Secretary Russell Findlay said: The new police chief of Police Scotland takes office on Monday morning. SNP ministers should give her and all other police officers the respect to be honest about the cost of their spending decisions.
A weak Humza Yousaf took advantage of a desperate distraction to claim that everything was fine – only for the truth to come to light within 24 hours. After years of stifling Police Scotland’s budgets, we now know that the SNP is continuing to cut the number of officers,
Meanwhile, Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said new police chief Jo Farrell needed to put the budget crisis at the top of his tray. He highlighted a warning from the Secretary General of the Scottish Police Federation (SPF), David Kennedy, that people could die as a result of the cuts.
Responding to the latest reports, Kennedy said: “The announcement by Police Scotland that there will be no recruitment until April 2024 is shocking. We expect that in the last quarter of this year, due to changes in the pension system, an above-average number of employees will retire, so we will probably have hundreds of employees less than now.
We are already almost 1000 less than in 2013 (the year Police Scotland was founded), so it’s no exaggeration to say that we are facing a public safety crisis. The Scottish government simply needs to raise more money for policing and do it now.
A police source told the Herald that Police Scotland would no longer hire probationary officers for a quarter from January, with the decision simply being due to the lack of the money to do so.
The newspaper also reported that a decision on the closure of 27 police stations was to be announced on Friday, but is now being reviewed, with a final decision on where the ax could now fall in mid-October.
A Scottish government spokesman said: While this decision is an operational matter for the Police Chief, we note that it is for a short period of time and allows the police to concentrate their resources at a busy time and ensure that the recruitment standard is at the level they expected.