Police numbers in Scotland show an increase of 1,015 FTE police officers (+6.3%) from the 16,234 FTE police officers recorded at 31 March 2007. They now stand at 17,249 full-time equivalent (FTE) police officers as at 30 June 2017. Although they are down from the highest figure in 2013 they have steadied over the past 2 years.
Police Scotland was formed in 2013 and splits its resources over three tiers – local, regional and national. The core of Police Scotland is with the local tier which is supplemented by specialist officers from regional and national levels when needed. There are also extra specialist resources with for example the National Rape Investigation Unit and Human Trafficking Unit and operational support resources such as Air Support and Mounted Unit.
Orkney is part of the Highlands and Islands Division. It has 2827 available police officers an increase of 25 officers from the last quarterly statistics. The total local resource complement is 637 officers an increase of 2 since the last quarterly statistics.
Police Scotland, along with our Fire and Rescue Service, is required to pay 20% VAT when it purchases equipment etc. This happens nowhere else in the UK and came about after the merging into the one force of Police Scotland. For both public services this adds up to an annual VAT cost of around £35 million per year.
On Tuesday of this week Finance Secretary in the Scottish Government Derek Mackay said:
“We have repeatedly made clear that the financial support we are providing for our frontline emergency services would go much further if Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service were able to recover VAT. ”
“Any move to end this would be welcome – it would make a real difference to frontline services in Scotland.”
It is thought that the UK Government is considering this request.
The specialist resources local teams can call upon when necessary are listed as follows:
Specialist Crime Division: Major Investigation Teams, Forensic Gateways, E – Crime, Financial Investigations, Serious and Organised Crime Units, Counter Terrorism Units, Offender Management, Border Policing Command, Technical Support Unit and Interventions. Operational Support: Road Policing Units, Event and Emergency Planning, VIP Planning, Armed Policing Training, Road Policing Management & Policy, Armed Policing, Dogs, Trunk Roads Policing Group and Operational Support Units.
Specialist Crime Division: National Intelligence Bureau, Homicide Governance and Review, Prison Intelligence Unit, Human Trafficking Unit, National Rape Investigation, National Rape Review, Fugitive Unit and Scottish Protected Persons Unit, International Unit, HOLMES, Safer Communities Citizen Focus, Preventions and Interventions, and Strategic Partnerships. Operational Support: Scottish Police Information and Coordination Centre, Intelligence, Specialist Operations Training, Air Support, Dive/Marine Unit, Football Co-ordination Unit, Mounted Unit, Mountain Rescue, Motorcycle Unit. (POLICE OFFICER QUARTERLY STRENGTH STATISTICS SCOTLAND 30 June 2017 )
Reporter: Fiona Grahame