Over 1,000 police continue to protect Scotland
- Published on Tuesday, 05 March 2013 11:49
- Posted by Vicki Mitchem
The number of police officers on Scotland's streets continues to exceed the target set in 2007 - at the same time thousands of officers south of the border vote in favour of the right to strike.
New figures out today show that there were 17,436 police officers on December 31, 2012 – an increase of 7.4 per cent or 1,202 officers since March 31, 2007.
The difference in approaches to policing between Scotland and England could not be starker after the Police Federation of England held a ballot on the right of officers to strike as a result of Westminster's Winsor
review and cuts to policing, with 'attacks' on pensions, pay and conditions.
The ballot saw 45,651 out of 133,000 members back the right to strike but as less than half of members voted, under its own rules, the organisation cannot push for a change in the law.
Commenting, Justice Committee member Sandra White said:
"Scotland's communities are safer places to live as a result of over 1,000 extra police on our streets – a target set by the SNP Government six years ago.
"The additional officers have helped reduce recorded crime to its lowest level for 37 years, at the same time the crime clear-up rate is at its highest in more than three decades.
"While the Scottish Government has kept its promise to protect police posts, the situation south of the Border could not be more different - it is a tale of two governments.
"In England and Wales, police numbers have fallen to their lowest level in 11 years and people living there have seen police numbers slashed and services cut.
"It speaks volumes that tens of thousands of police officers in England voted in favour of the right to strike – the last official strike was believed to be in 1919. Almost a century later and the Tories are pushing officers to the brink.
"The Scottish Government has made it consistently clear that it will not implement the Winsor changes, which would only serve to damage the police and undermine their efforts to protect communities in Scotland.
"It is only because Scotland has powers over our police force that we can protect our officers from these Tory moves that are hammering the police service in England.
"With the powers that we already have, the Scottish Government is reflecting the priorities of people in Scotland and protecting both frontline police numbers and the pay and conditions of police officers.
"These are the kind of values we can do more to uphold with the full powers of an independent Scotland, if we achieve a Yes vote in next year's referendum."