Let’s make one thing very clear. This is not the police’s fault. I know how hard they work and how committed they are to keeping us safe. The problem is that in Edinburgh there is not enough of them and the SNP have failed to invest in systems and equipment for them to do their job properly.
Following the creation of Police Scotland, Edinburgh division lost around 40 officers. That means this city has one of the lowest levels of police per citizen in Scotland. This is a fact that even senior police officers have acknowledged with me in private.
Everyone will always want more police, but it is clear that the city has particular demands. As Scotland’s capital and home of the festival, we host a huge range of events that all need to be policed.
We have international rugby, the Scottish Parliament and the Queen each year. This status, of course, makes Edinburgh residents proud, but their safety and community cohesion should not be compromised by taking away local police officers in order to patrol high profile, city centre occasions.
To add insult to injury, Police Scotland has one of the lowest levels of capital spend per officer in the UK. The Met in London, for example, spends over four times as much. This has meant that Police Scotland runs nine different crime recording systems and lack of mobile IT ties officers up for hours after every arrest they make.
This overstretch helps explain why our hard-working officers cannot always attend house break-ins as quickly as they would want. Edinburgh’s police are being short-changed by an SNP Government that is trying to do policing on the cheap.
Daniel Johnson is MSP for Edinburgh Southern