Police Scotland mocked over Gaelic helicopter

POLICE Scotland has been ridiculed for spending taxpayers’ cash on rebranding their helicopter in Gaelic.

Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh beside the Police Scotland helicopter. Picture: Twitter
Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh beside the Police Scotland helicopter. Picture: Twitter
Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh beside the Police Scotland helicopter. Picture: Twitter

SNP MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh tweeted a photo of herself sitting in the helicopter which bears the name of Police Scotland in Gaelic.

The SNP politician wrote: “Huge thanks to @PolScotPSYV & @policescotland for the opportunity to sit in a Poileas Alba helicopter!”

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But the force’s Gaelic rebranding has drawn criticism as it reels from a series of scandals culminating in the decision of its chief constable, Sir Stephen House, to leave his post early.

Sir Stephen will get a £500,000 pay-off and £100,000-a-year from his £2 million pension pot.

Twitter user @ChrystalTipps wrote: “Police Scotland’s in a mess, but never mind, we’ve got Gaelic signage on a helicopter, in Alloa.”

Another user wrote: “At least the one per cent of Scots criminals who speak Gaelic will be worried when the cops are after them.”

Referring to M9 crash victims Lamara Bell and John Yuill, Ron Kane ‏added: “What’s Gaelic for ‘my daughter and her boyfriend have been missing for 3 days?’ #SNP #priorities”

And @torykipper said: “500k payoffs, chopper rebranding, meanwhile 999 calls go unanswered #shameful.”

@LadyCarolMax, referring to a gaffe where the Isle of Bute was rechristened after an error was spotted on Gaelic signage, asked: “Do you fly to Penis Island?

Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Money is tight and every penny has to go towards crucial frontline policing.

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“Spending taxpayers’ money on a vanity project paint job is exactly the sort of waste we need to cut out.”

The force is still reeling from a series of scandals including the death of Lamara Bell, who lay in a wrecked car for three days beside her dead boyfriend John Yuill after a 999 call was not followed up on.

Ch superintendent Elaine Ferguson, of the force’s operational support division, said: “The branding and wording applied to the aircraft was carried out on the instruction of Police Scotland, as part of the service contract. The cost of this work was included in the leasing agreement and as such incurred no extra cost. As the force helicopter can be tasked to incidents anywhere in the country, it features dual language branding.”

Police Scotland have also been rocked by controversies over policy on the open carrying of firearms and stop-and-search.

The force is also being investigated over the death of Fife man Sheku Bayoh, who died in police custody.

Ms Ahmed-Sheikh was elected as MP for Ochil and South Perthshire in May. She is currently the SNP spokesperson on trade and investment and deputy shadow leader of the House of Commons.