Police Scotland issues ‘fall at SNP’s door claim

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Concerns regarding Police Scotland “fall completely at the SNP’s door”, the Scottish Conservatives shadow justice secretary Douglas Ross has said.

Earlier this month the Scottish Government set seven new priority areas to give a broad strategic direction for Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority (SPA), which included localism, inclusion and adaptability.

However, the Scottish Conservatives have raised concerns about the state of the single force and its performance on maintaining local relationships and its ability to deal with current and future threats.

As part of the consultation phase for the new priority framework, Edinburgh City Council submitted feedback saying it was “difficult” for officers to maintain relationships at a local level due to police being moved around different areas within the force.

The Scottish Police Federation also listed a range of concerns which included Scottish Government funding of the force for tools such as an effective IT system.

Mr Ross said: “These are very severe warnings that cover a range of areas where Police Scotland is struggling.

“It is losing traction on the ground locally, and failing to keep up with the world of technology.

“This falls completely at the SNP’s door, which created the single force and has overseen its first few years.

“Ministers said local policing wouldn’t be hampered, but here we have Scotland’s capital city saying otherwise.

“This message is replicated across the country and I hear concerns about local policy everywhere I go.

“Communities and police officers alike are highlighting failings which we were assured by the SNP would not occur.

“The Scottish Government has to take heed of this, and make sure the police can deal not only with current challenges, but future ones too.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The new Strategic Police Priorities has been developed following extensive consultation with people from across Scotland and key partners.

“These priorities will strengthen the community focus of policing, ensuring that our national priorities take account of the needs of local communities.

“In terms funding, the Scottish Government is committed to protecting the police revenue budget in real terms for the entirety of this parliament, delivering an additional £100 million of investment over the next five years, in addition to £55 million of reform funding in 2016-17.

“It is for SPA and Police Scotland to determine the best possible use of the budget according to national and local priorities.”

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