Humza Yousaf rejects claims that Scots police stations are "falling apart"

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf has dismissed claims that police stations in Scotland are "falling apart" as he defended the SNP's record on funding for frontline officers.

Humza Yousaf defended police funding levels
Humza Yousaf defended police funding levels

The Cabinet Secretary came under fire at Holyrood over a video posted on social media by leading Scottish Police Federation member David Hamilton showing a police station in Paisley deluged by heavy leaks from the roof and multiple buckets collecting water

Mr Yousaf insisted that Police Scotland gets a fair deal from ministers after Chief Constable Iain Livingstone last week hit out at "derisory" funding levels from the Government and called for an extra £50 million in the forthcoming budget.

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Labour James Kelly raised concerns over the video posted last week which provoked a storm on social media and pointed to claims by the Scottish Police Federation that 25% of police stations are in "poor condition."

Mr Kelly added; "It is completely unacceptable that some of our police stations are falling apart and what action are we taking in the budget to ensure that we have a police estate that is fit for purpose?"

But Mr Yousaf hit back: "I think that hyperbole by describing police stations as falling apart is unhelpful.

"I don't doubt that the Scottish Police Federation have a job to do, particularly pre-budget to try to do what they can in order to ensure there's the maximum amount of resource coming to the police - they wouldn't be doing their job if they didn't do that."

Tory justice spokesman Liam Kerr said the Chief Constable was "utterly scathing" about the Scottish Government's funding of Police Scotland and insisted capital funding has been "cut to the bone."

He said; "In the words of the Chief Constable it is `derisory', leaving facilities unmaintained, vehicles unreplaced and police numbers in jeopardy.

"Is it not the case that if the Scottish Government had only taken £100 million out of the budget instead of £200 million, Police Scotland would have a balanced budget by now?"

He called on Mr Yousaf "at the very least" to give the force the £50 million needed to maintain officer numbers.

He added; "Under the SNP crime has been rising for the past two years and violent crime for the last four years.

"This SNP Government keeps asking our brave police men and women to deal with increasing crime with fewer resources. The cabinet Secretary must now surely accept that is totally unsustainable."

But Mr Yousaf said the annual Budget for the police is up by over £30 million since 2016/17 to over £1.2 billion.

He added there are currently 17,257 officers in Scotland, up by more than 1,000 since the SNP came to power.

Discussions over the police budget are continuing, Mr Yousaf added. But he said: "We will however continue to ensure Scotland's police services are supported to keep people and communities safe."

Scottish Ministers are demanding the UK Government pay up for the extra costs of policing associated with Brexit and the £125 of VAT which the new single force in Scotland was forced to pay before this was axed.

He insisted that crime rates are one of the lowest levels in decades, while there are more officers per head in Scotland than south of the border.

Police officers in Scotland also received a 6.5% pay increase, compared with 2% in England and Wales.