Police Scotland overtime payments top £115m
POLICE Scotland has spent more than £115 million on overtime payments since it was created five years ago, figures obtained under Freedom of Information laws have shown. The statistics, which show that £115.43m has been spent on overtime since the force was established in 2013, also reveal that the sums are set to rise in the current year. The force attributes the rise to specific extra costs such as the terror threat level being raised to critical last year. The figures were obtained from the service by the Scottish Liberal Democrats, who have called on Police Scotland to conduct an service-wide survey to measure staff wellbeing after one carried out in 2015 found staff believed resources were stretched.
Paramedics deal with 50 alcohol cases a day
Ambulance crews were forced to attend more than 15,000 emergencies last year where alcohol was to blame. Figures obtained by the Scottish Conservatives reveal the number of incidents where drink was an “additional factor” have increased from 2016. In total, there have been 53,141 alcohol-related incidents in the past three years – the equivalent of nearly 50 a day. The Freedom of Information response showed Glasgow had the highest number last year, with a total of 3783.
£3m for human trafficking victims as police referrals surge
MINISTERS have allocated another £3 million to support victims of human trafficking in Scotland. It came as statistics revealed the number of trafficking referrals to Police Scotland had risen by 38 per cent in 2017. Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: “Human trafficking is an appalling abuse of human rights. “This horrific crime affects the most vulnerable in society and has lasting consequences for its victims. “Some will need long-term care and support following their ordeal, meaning that we must do everything we can to aid victims.”
‘Axe wielding’ woman taken down by plastic bullet as armed officers swarm castle in Edinburgh
Police took down a woman with a plastic bullet during a dramatic stand-off at a tourist attraction. The 48-year-old allegedly waved an axe as she came towards officers in a wooded area near Craigmillar Castle in Edinburgh on Saturday. The decision to open fire was taken as officers feared she posed a threat to them and members of the public. The woman was subdued by the plastic bullet – known as a baton round – and taken to hospital for treatment. She was arrested and a report has been sent to the procurator fiscal. Police, including negotiators and firearms officers, were called to the castle grounds at about 11.30am after an alarm was raised over the woman’s behaviour.
Justice Secretary Michael Matheson brushes aside five years of cop chaos to insist unified Police Scotland has been a success
JUSTICE Secretary Michael Matheson has brushed aside five years of cop chaos to insist the unified Police Scotland has been a success. The SNP minister hit back at critics of the single force as it marks its half decade with a budget overspend of millions and the top job vacant. Speaking exclusively to The Scottish Sun, he was upbeat despite calamities including the M9 crash scandal, budget black holes, IT fiascos and former Chief Constable Phil Gormley quitting after a bullying probe. Mr Matheson said: “There is no doubt in the last five years that has come with a whole raft of challenges that the organisation has faced.
Privacy fears as Scottish police use spy tools to break into mobile phones
Police forces across Britain are using espionage technology to download the entire contents of mobile phones belonging to suspects, witnesses and victims. At least 26 forces, including Police Scotland, use the laptop-size devices to extract emails, photos, passwords and conversations on encrypted messaging apps without using a password or thumbprint. According to Privacy International, a privacy rights charity, forces do not obtain warrants or seek permission from the people whose phones they search.
Police inspectors: MSPs reveal probe on the fifth anniversary of Scotland’s single force
MSPs will launch an inquiry into the controversial merger of Scotland’s eight forces into one. Holyrood’s justice committee will conduct an in-depth review of one of the most significant pieces of legislation ever passed by MSPs. Among the issues being scrutinised will be the role and performance of the watchdog Scottish Police Authority (SPA) and concerns that local policing has been weakened. Daniel Johnson MSP, Labour’s justice spokesman, said: “Creating Police Scotland was the SNP’s biggest public sector reform.
Cops in cafés is a return to police boxes, chief claims
Police Scotland is reverting to the model of using police boxes, the acting chief constable has said, with officers stationed in cafés, supermarkets and community centres in an attempt to reach more people. Iain Livingstone said fewer police stations were needed as tablet computers and smartphones allowed officers to keep up with paperwork and crime reports while remaining visible to the public. His comments follow years of controversy over cuts to public opening hours at police stations and the loss of police counters across Scotland as the national police force, formed from the merger of eight regional forces five years ago yesterday, pushes for greater savings. “We no longer need to have the majority of officers sitting in police stations hard-wired into a desktop computer,” Mr Livingstone said.
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