POLICE Scotland has spent almost £100,000 on foreign trips during its first year of operation.
Officers and civilian staff racked up the bill on air fares, hotels and car hire while visiting cities in Europe, the United States and Australia.
Over the last three years the force and its legacy branches spent almost £250,000 on 80 trips to foreign countries.
While some of the travel relates to investigations, the majority was for courses, conferences and fact-finding missions.
The force would not reveal the exact purpose of each trip.
Graeme Pearson MSP, Labour’s justice spokesman and a former senior policeman, said: “Other than those involving sensitive investigations I would have expected full information to be provided on the purpose of the trips.”
John Lamont MSP, the Scottish Conservatives’ chief whip, added: “The public will rightly wonder why the police are spending so much money on far-flung travel trips. To avoid giving the impression there is something to hide, it would be better if Police Scotland disclosed exactly what the purpose of each trip was.”
In April, Chief Constable Sir Stephen House said Police Scotland faced a shortfall of between £10 million and £50m in savings projections for the coming year.
A police spokeswoman said: “Police Scotland will visit overseas for a number of reasons including travelling to a conference, training, secondment or as part of a criminal investigation.
“Officers make a limited number of overseas visits as part of ongoing investigations and it is not appropriate to release further details of individual trips.”