Police call for work parking tax to be axed amid terror concerns

The SPF has urged the Scottish Government to scrap the workplace parking levy
The SPF has urged the Scottish Government to scrap the workplace parking levy
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Controversial plans to introduce a new tax on workplace parking could increase the terror threat against police officers, it has been claimed.

Andrea MacDonald, chair of the Scottish Police Federation (SPF), will today urge justice secretary Humza Yousaf to intervene to halt the proposal.

Part of a budget agreement between the SNP and Greens, the plan would allow councils to charge employers an annual tax for every parking space they provide for employees.

Ms MacDonald will use her keynote address at the SPF's conference to warn Mr Yousaf that the proposal will do "nothing to mitigate" the risks faced by police officers when they finish their

shift and head home.

The SPF will also warn Mr Yousaf, who is attending the conference, that cuts to police officer numbers will lead to a rise in crime.

On the subject of the workplace parking levy, she is expected to say: "Our general secretary wrote to you [Mr Yousaf] recently about the workplace parking levy and highlighted

the risks faced by officers and specifically the terror threat against them. To date we have not received a reply other than to advise that you had, inexplicably, passed this matter of police

officer safety to the minister for transport, Michael Matheson.

"We wrote to you about a matter of safety for Scotland’s police officers, either you value their safety or you do not. Imposing this parking levy does nothing to mitigate the risks police

officers face, nor is it realistic to expect a desperately underfunded police service to bear that burden.

"Cabinet Secretary, I appeal to you to bring this to an end and tell Conference that you value our safety and will oppose this levy on police officers and the police service."

Ms MacDonald will also raise concerns about Police Scotland's plans for "capacity creation" amid fears they could lead to a significant reduction in officer numbers.

In January, the national forced postponed plans to cut 300 officer posts amid uncertainty over Brexit.

Ms MacDonald will urge Mr Yousaf not to follow the "calamitous" approach of Theresa May, who presided over cuts to police officer numbers in England and Wales while Home Secretary.

She will say: "We are police officers, we operate in the real world. We deal with complaints from members of the public who are assaulted, who are raped, whose loved ones are

murdered or have gone missing.

"We deal with victims who have had their homes broken into. We deal with serious crimes and terrible accidents. We don’t deal in meaningless phrases like 'capacity creation'.

"Reduce police numbers and you will limit our operational capability because it is not possible to get more for less. Therefore, you [Mr Yousaf] will be responsible for creating an

environment which will deliver more crime and more victims of crime."