Police spend £115m on overtime as officer headcount falls
Police Scotland has spent more than £115m on overtime in the last five years, while the number of officers has fallen. The force has paid out £103.8m to officers and another £11.6m to support staff. Spending is likely to rise this year as a result of the increased policing in the wake of terror attacks in Manchester and London.
Edinburgh police set to use new off-road dirtbikes to catch crazed dirtbags
Joyriding thugs are being targeted by a new team of police officers on off-road motorbikes. The squad of eight officers will ride Honda CRF 250cc motorcycles to tackle the scourge plaguing streets and parks in Edinburgh. Equipped with “DNA” sprays first issued by Police Scotland last week, the officers will be able to coat offenders in the invisible solution linking them to specific crimes. GoPro cameras fitted to their uniforms will allow video evidence to be gathered.
United campaign against Islamophobia as anti-Muslim letters spark hate crime fears
Police Scotland stepped up patrols around mosques and other religious buildings to reassure communities following an anti-Muslim hate campaign. Call handlers had also been briefed to escalate calls appropriately, and “intelligence assets” were “looking for signals”. The extra steps were put in place for an event today, which has been dubbed ‘Punish a Muslim Day’ on social media and in letters sent to random addresses across the UK and to several MPs in England last month. The campaign suggests people earn ‘points’ on a sliding scale by attacking Muslims.
Lessons have been learned after police staged major terror training exercise
Lessons have been learned and actions already taken following a major cross-border counter-terror training exercise last year. Exercise Border Reiver, which was more than a year in the planning, took place last October across central and eastern Scotland and the Northumbria Police force area. The ‘live-play scenario’ started with a simulated vehicle attack at the Royal Bank of Scotland headquarters at Gogarburn, near Edinburgh.
No official report has yet been published by the Home Office, but an update was given to councillors on Northumberland County Council’s emergency committee last week, based on internal feedback and the local debrief by Northumbria Police.
Multi-million funding boost for human trafficking charities
More than £3 million will be given to charities that care for victims of human trafficking. Both Migrant Help and the Trafficking Awareness Raising Alliance (TARA) will receive a share of a £3.1 million Scottish government grant. The funding, announced on Monday (April 2), will cover three years and will help the organisations increase the support they can provide. The minimum support period of trafficking victims was recently doubled from 45 to 90 days. The grant announcement was welcomed by Phil Dailly, national operations manager for Migrant Help, who said it will help “support and empower” victims.
The UK’s biggest police force is to ditch a policy of believing all rape complainants following a series of embarrassing failures into alleged sex crimes, The Times reports. Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, has told officers to have an open mind when an allegation is made and countenance the possibility that a crime was not committed. “You start with a completely open mind, absolutely,” she said. “It is very important to victims to feel that they are going to be believed. Our default position is we are, of course, likely to believe you but we are investigators and we have to investigate.”
No ‘grace period’ on minimum unit pricing for alcohol
It’s been controversial and much delayed by a long and expensive court case, but now Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) of alcohol is almost upon us and the Scottish Government says it will start on May 1 without any exceptions. In final guidance issued to the licensed trade, the Government has affirmed that there will be no “period of grace” after May 1 and all licensed premises must have arrangements in place to charge the MUP, which the Holyrood Parliament will establish at 50p per unit.
Scottish drivers stung by whiplash penalty
Scots are facing the UK’s highest rises in car insurance bills after SNP ministers refused to tackle the burgeoning compensation culture. The UK Government unveiled legislation designed to clamp down on whiplash claims. This is set to save drivers in England and Wales an average of £35 per year on their insurance premiums. But the Scottish Government last night confirmed that it has ‘no plans’ to introduce similar measures north of the Border.
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