Kenny MacAskill: It is time to stop using Police Scotland as a political football
Police Scotland was once again in the headlines with even a heavily trailed TV documentary portraying an apparent “Force in Crisis”. Given the hype I was expecting new stories and shocking revelations, instead it could best be described as a “Shock Jock” programme containing contrived issues and cauld kale het up. Of course, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t issues for Police Scotland to address. This week also saw a reduction in police numbers below the previous maintained level of 17,234, albeit by less than 100. More concerning though were the financial challenges detailed at the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) and which seemed to indicate that only further reductions in numbers could balance the books.
Almost 900 crimes not prosecuted in 2017 because police are overworked – Tories
Almost 900 crimes were not prosecuted in Scotland last year because “overworked” police officers failed to submit key reports in time, Nicola Sturgeon has been told. The First Minister said it was “regrettable” that there were cases where there had been delays in getting the necessary paperwork to the Crown Office – but stressed this had happened in just 0.3% of all cases.
However, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said as a result of this crimes including alleged firearms offences, drug dealing and child sex crimes had not been prosecuted.
She said: “When action is dropped against hundreds of suspects in cases as serious as these, and it is all down to officers being overworked, under pressure and flooded with paperwork, then it is clear something is very wrong.”
MSPs roared as Ruth Davidson challenged the SNP leader about the falling numbers of Police officers under her Government.
Police officer numbers in Scotland have fallen to their lowest level in nine years after the SNP tore up its flagship manpower pledge. Addressing Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish Conservatives leader said: “You always know when the First Minister has to go on the back foot because then she looks to England or Wales or anywhere apart from her own responsibilities in Scotland.
“The facts are these: we were all told, the country was told, that the creation of a single force would free up resources and provide huge savings to spend on frontline policing.” The SNP abandoned a promise to keep officer numbers at 1,000 more than 2007 levels at the last Holyrood election two years ago. The Scottish Government statistics revealed that the total number of officers has now dropped by 86 from the 17,256 recorded at the end of last year.
COP ROW Nicola Sturgeon says loss of 1,200 cops would be ‘unacceptable’ amid Police Scotland cull plans
A report by accountants has claimed seven per cent of the force could be let go as smartphones and other technology help cops save time – but it is unknown how many front-line officers are at risk. NICOLA Sturgeon has agreed a loss of 1,200 cops would be “unacceptable”. Her response came after we revealed beancounters reckon Police Scotland could lose that many bobbies without affecting frontline service.
At First Minister’s Questions, Ms Davidson said: “We were all told creating a single force would free resources and provide huge savings to spend on frontline policing. “The reality is that, five years on, we have a £30million black hole and officer numbers are going down. But we do not know how many more are for the axe.” She added: “We know the cuts are coming, and people have a right to know where they will fall. What we need to know now is how many it will be — 600? 800?” But Mrs Sturgeon hit back: “The numbers that have been published this week show the number of police officers is 963 more than the number we inherited in 2007.
Scotland’s energy sector must take heed of cyber-attacks on oil and nuclear facilities in Ukraine, Iran and Saudi Arabia, according to a top detective.
Detective Inspector Eamonn Keane heads up Police Scotland’s cyber-crime operations team. Speaking at the Digital Energy Conference in Aberdeen, he warned around 300 delegates that international energy companies based in Scotland could “come under the radar” of criminals. In August hackers carried out a cyber-attack on a petrochemical plant in Saudi Arabia, which investigators believe was designed to trigger an explosion, only stopped by a mistake in the criminals’ computer code.
Police warning ahead of Aberdeen and Hibernian crunch match
Police have issued a warning to those heading to Aberdeen’s crunch match against Hibernian in the Scottish Premiership on Saturday. Fans are encouraged to arrive early and allow additional time for their journeys as they make their way to Pittodrie for the 3pm kick off on Saturday. Police will be present at the fixture within the grounds, outside and across the City to assist in managing any traffic or other issues. Chief Inspector Murray Main said: “We have been working closely with Aberdeen FC, Hibernian FC and our key partners to prepare for the fixture and I ask that the public and fans alike, help ensure the event passes without incident and to give yourself plenty of time getting to the ground.
The Lockerbie bomber could receive a fresh appeal after the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) announced a full review of his conviction.
Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was sentenced to 27 years in jail in 2001 over the 1988 plane bombing that killed 270 people. Six years after his death, the SCCRC will begin examining whether Megrahi’s case should receive another appeal that could lead to his conviction being overturned. Megrahi had previously launched two appeals but abandoned the second one as he believed doing so would allow him to return to Libya while suffering from cancer.
SCCRC chief executive Gerard Sinclair said: “Having considered all the available evidence the Commission believes that Mr Megrahi, in abandoning his appeal, did so as he held a genuine and reasonable belief that such a course of action would result in him being able to return home to Libya, at a time when he was suffering from terminal cancer.
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