FMQs: Nicola Sturgeon warned ‘public at risk’ over police cuts

Nicola Sturgeon has hit back at claims that a shortfall in police funding could be leaving the public at risk.

The SNP leader came under fire over police funding and GP cuts as she clashed with opposition leaders at First Minister Questions today.

Ms Sturgeon insisted that the SNP had increased police officers by over 1000 from the position inherited in 2007 and insisted that the NHS was performing better in Scotland under the SNP than elsewhere in the UK.

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Tory leader Jackson said police chiefs in Scotland had described the budget settlement for the force as "wholly inadequate" and said there is a black hole of £49 million in police budgets.

Nicola Sturgeon has defended the SNP budgetNicola Sturgeon has defended the SNP budget
Nicola Sturgeon has defended the SNP budget

He cited a submission by the Scottish Police Federation to MSPs which warned officers are working "harder then ever."

It added: "They are under strain and it is taking its toll on their physical and mental health and their families. Their working conditions are not satisfactory. In some cases, through, no fault of our own, we are not providing a good service to the public.

Mr Carlaw added: "Isn't the choice clear? You increase police funding or you are putting public risk."

But the SNP leader insisted that the Tories had cut police numbers by 20,000 south of the border, while the SNP was increasing numbers.

"That's the reality that every police officer across the UK is all too aware of.

"We're also making sure our police officers get a decent pay rise, which is more than can be said of his colleagues south of the border."

Ms Sturgeon insisted that the police settlement in the budget is up by £37 million.

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Labour's Richard Leonard hit out the prospect of the closure of a local GP surgery in Salsburgh, North Lanarkshire and claimed Ms Sturgeon has "washed her hands" of the situation in a letter to him.

He said local GPs services are at "high risk" around Scotland as as a result of staff shortages, policy decisions and a lack of resources.

Leonard warned that Scotland is facing a "GP crisis."

But Ms Sturgeon insisted that the NHS has record staffing levels, including GPs, and record funding.

"We've got more GPs in Scotland per head of population than any other part of the UK," she said.