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Martyn Evans warns policing budget facing "substantial shortfall".

Published : 25/08/2022 12:38:58

 

Speaking at a meeting of the Scottish Police Authority today (Thursday 25 August 2022) the Chair of the Authority has warned that the police budget is facing a shortfall of at least £40m next year.

Martyn Evans told members that he will be making the argument to the Scottish Government for the real terms protection policing was promised last year and planning for. 

Mr Evan's full comments to the Authority are outlined below: 

"The Authority is facing a substantial shortfall in our budget for next year if the flat cash settlement is delivered as indicated. For clarity, a flat cash settlement translates to a substantial real terms reduction in the policing budget.

"Early assessments indicate a flat cash settlement would be at least £40 million short of the minimum requirement to cover only the most basic of inflationary pressures. The Authority is working with Police Scotland to finalise the full financial impact.

"I am setting this out clearly today and to say that the Authority will be standing alongside Police Scotland in making the argument for real terms protection to be reinstated as promised.

"I could advocate on a number of grounds:

  • Police Scotland has been through a decade of structural reform - saving hundreds of millions to the taxpayer through the reorganisation and replacing 8 legacy forces with one national force.
  • There are new and emerging threats and harms that add to the already high demands on police officers to keep us safe

"Today I want to highlight just two grounds. Fairness, and social solidarity.

"Grounds that civic and civil society will recognise.

"First and foremost fairness.

"Policing and the wider justice system is a core part of our national ambition to tackle inequality and vulnerability. To make Scotland fairer.

"Crime is highly concentrated. Most of us have no crime committed against us from one year to the next.

"However, 4% of the population are subjected to half of all crime.

"Effective policing is critical to their safety and wellbeing.

"Secondly, social solidarity. Confidence in policing has a strong correlation with the assurance that Police Scotland will respond to public concerns in an effective and timely manner.

"The maintenance of a responsive 999 and 101 service is at the heart of that.

"To quote one writer: “The capacity of all affected by harm or disorder to summon the police when they are threatened or violated and have the police come to their aid without fear or favour, is a significant, hard-won and fragile historical achievement, as well as a telling indicator of social solidarity. There remain large parts of the globe where the ability to summon the state to offer emergency assistance does not exist or is partial and contested.”

"Taking those millions of calls a year and responding to them 24 hours a day, 365 days a year is an extraordinary professional achievement by Police Scotland.

"Responding well to calls for service is the bedrock of public trust.

"We know these are tough times for public finances and there are tough choices for parliamentarians."