Number of Scots police off frontline duties soars

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THE number of police officers unable to carry out frontline duties has soared in the last six years, new figures have revealed.

There are now more than 1,400 serving officers on restrictive duties, compared to only 560 in 2006.

They include officers who are injured, sick, or pregnant and considered unable to carry out frontline work.

The Scottish Conservatives, who obtained the figures, said they blow a hole in the Scottish Government’s achieved aim of putting 1,000 more bobbies on the beat than the 2007 total.

Scottish Conservative MSP Annabel Goldie said: “We forced the SNP in 2008 to deliver 1,000 extra police officers – but what good is that when there has been such an increase in those placed on restricted duties?

“This rise will have had a dramatic impact on Scotland, and the public will want to know why this trend has developed.

“The Scottish Government can’t simply promise to keep the 1,000 officers, only to oversee a doubling of those going from the frontline to behind a desk in six years.

“With the creation of a single force just around the corner, the SNP must do all it can to ensure we get this figure back down.”

However, the Scottish Government questioned the validity of the figures for officers unable to serve on the frontline.

“It is inaccurate to claim that there has been an eight per cent increase as the figures from 2006-07 do not include data from three police forces,” a spokesman said “Officers can be placed on restricted duty for a number of very good reasons.

“Any change in the number of officers on restricted duties is against a backdrop of police ­officers being significantly higher than before May 2007.

“There were 17,454 police ­officers in Scotland on 30 September 2012. Record numbers of police are helping to make Scotland’s communities safer – recorded crime is at a 37-year low.”