• Thu. May 30th, 2024

Police Scotland to receive new funding following 2023 budget slash

ByKailasha Wagemans

Jan 27, 2024
Brick wall with blue Police Scotland sign

Police Scotland faced a £74m budget cut in March 2023, resulting in a 3.7 per cent staffing cut across public sectors, reducing the number of staff in public services. 

The Police cuts come in the wake of a £1.5 billion deficit in government spending, described by Scotland’s Finance Minister Shona Robinson as “one of the most challenging fiscal backdrops in the history of Scottish devolution.”

Trade union UNISON warned that hundreds of civilian police staff could be abandoned across vital roles, including 999 call handlers, forensic examiners, HR and IT staff.  

Additionally, under the new retirement rules more officers are currently leaving the police force than entering. 

Read More: Jo Farrell begins as new Chief Constable of Police Scotland

Michelle Brewster, former branch secretary of UNISON Police Staff Scotland, described the situation to be “unsustainable” and that until 2025 decisions to leave rather than stay will be “not surprising”.

Due to the reduction in staff numbers and warnings for community safety, it has been observed that recorded crime in Scotland has been “one of the lowest levels since 1974.” 

Justice Secretary Keith Brown has assured that Police Scotland will receive £80m in funding in the next financial year, a 6.3 per cent increase.

The Scottish Police Authority Ten Year Financial Strategy, released in 2017, predicted a rise in budget deficit from 2022 onwards. Figures show that despite a rise in total funding, the budget surplus will continue to grow. 

Following the release of budget plans in December 2023, Police Scotland launched a redundancy scheme, announcing 29 stations were at risk of closure. 

Read More: Scottish Government announces Scottish Budget 2024/25

The Scotland Police Federation said that budget cuts will lead to an increase in crime and mental health issues for officers. 

Following the release of the Scottish Budget 2024-25, the Chief Constable Jo Farrell stated

“Hard choices lie ahead to deliver effective policing within the revenue budget available and our capital funding remains significantly lower than that needed to progress improvements to our technology, buildings and vehicles”. 

Image via Maryse Bots