Scotland’s cash-strapped police force could decide which incidents to respond to based on the age and vulnerability of the victim, it has emerged.
Chief Constable Phil Gormley said he wanted his force to respond in person based on the “harm” caused by an incident rather than just the crime type.
Mr Gormley has previously suggested his officers will be less likely to attend to lower-level crime in person in future due to challenges facing the force such as child sexual abuse.
But the Scottish Police Federation (SPF), which represents rank and file officers, has warned against the force dealing with minor offences over the phone or online.
Mr Gormley was appearing before the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) yesterday, where it emerged Police Scotland will exceed its revenue budget by £28.2m this year, leading to a total “overspend” on its budget of £17.5m.
He said: “The harm the crime has on a person or a community will vary in relation to their ability to deal with it.
“The impact of a crime on me as a late-middle aged man is probably going to be less than a 75-year-old with early dementia.
“I probably don’t need police officers to come and see me, but somebody else very definitely does because of the harm it’s causing them.
“That’s where we need to get to in getting our officers to deploy on an intelligence basis, rather than just against a crime type.”