Scotland’s highest civil court is to rule on whether armed police officers deserve extra “away from home” payments while protecting the Royal Family at Balmoral.
Police Scotland has not made enhanced payments to officers over the past two summers for protecting the Queen and her family while they take a break in Royal Deeside.
An unnamed officer, backed by the Scottish Police Federation, has raised a judicial review of the decision at the Court of Session and a judgment is expected in the coming weeks.
Previously, the force made extra payments to police officers working at the Balmoral estate during the summer because they were so far away from home and remained “on call”.
But senior ranks have scrapped the “held in reserve” payments for watching royalty as they battle to close a reported £190 million funding gap by 2020/21.
The legal move – which sees a judge review a decision made by an administrative body such as a council or a police force – has been brought by an officer who helps guard the family when they are north of the Border.
Alongside Royal Protection Officers and officers from the London-based Metropolitan Police, Scottish officers such as the one bringing the case provide protection for the Royals at an estimated cost of more than £100 million a year to the taxpayer.
The “held in reserve” payments are enshrined in rules by the Police Negotiating Board, which agrees the terms and conditions for Scottish police officers.
But the row comes down to Police Scotland’s interpretation of whether the armed officers at Balmoral qualify for the payments.
It is understood that Police Scotland previously made the “held in reserve” payments to officers for working at the royal Deeside residence in 2014.
The general secretary of the Scottish Police Federation, Callum Steele, said: “This is a significant issue for our officers.
“The force has changed its approach to the reimbursement of officers and we are challenging it.
“We have tried to resolve this long before the Court of Sessions action but feel little option but to go down the legal route.”
A spokesman for Police Scotland said: “We will not comment on this as it involves an active legal case.”