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Police Scotland warns of funding threat to 3,000 jobs – BBC News

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Police Scotland is warning that 3,000 officer and staff jobs are at risk without further investment from the Scottish government.

In a report due to go before the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) on Thursday, the force has asked for £128m in additional funding.

If this is not met, Police Scotland said it would look at cutting numbers.

Police Scotland said its request for a further £128m would also fund body worn video cameras and allow a new model of community policing to be developed.

It said that if there was a flat cash settlement – equivalent to a £161m real terms cut over four years – then frontline officer and staff jobs would have to be cut.

This would include a reduction of 1,427 officers – equal to 6.4% of officer numbers – though a continued recruitment freeze and an “extensive voluntary redundancy/voluntary early retirement programme”.

The report states: “Tactical, short-term measures would have to be taken to deliver maximum savings.

“The impact of flat cash could be minimised by implementing a pay freeze for 2024-25, but this would have further operational implications and would still require significant workforce reductions.”

‘Hard choices’

In January, Police Scotland cancelled plans to take on 200 new recruits to save money in the face of a £19m projected overspend.

It was believed that the cuts would allow officers numbers to remain at around 16,600, with support staff numbers to be reduced “proportionately”.

The force said that “hard choices” had to be made to deliver policing with its current Scottish government budget.

Speaking on the BBC’s Sunday Show, Finance Secretary Shona Robison warned that jobs across the public sector workforce are at risk following the chancellor’s autumn statement.

She said: “This will be one of the most difficult budgets under devolution and we will be having a number of challenges around how to make sure we can invest what we can in public services.”

Scottish Conservative justice spokesman Russell Findlay MSP said officers were “being pushed beyond breaking point” by the Scottish government.

He added: “This document is the latest in a series of clear and ominous warnings that continued cuts are impacting on Police Scotland’s job of keeping people safe.”

The Scottish government will publish its tax and spending plans next month.

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