Fears over loss of senior officers at Police Scotland
Police Scotland may lose senior officers in the coming months, it has been claimed.
A retirement boom is expected at all levels of the single force, with a Scottish Police Authority (SPA) memo indicating the body is “anticipating further senior officers may retire in coming months”.
Two senior departures have already been confirmed. Assistant chief constable Kenny MacDonald will retire next month and deputy chief constable Will Kerr will take up a role with Devon and Cornwall Police next year.
There are concerns that Police Scotland will be left with a shortage of senior figures.
1919 Magazine, which is funded entirely by the Scottish Police Federation (SPF), detailed that of the remaining 11 senior officers in the executive team, more than half served either for 30 years or are reaching that milestone.
Deputy chief officer David Page has written to the Holyrood’s Criminal Justice Committee outlining the impact of departures.
He said that 1,377 officers of all ranks had been “affected by the recent pension changes and could leave earlier than would otherwise have been the case”.
“We are continuing to see the impact of fewer officers across a range of operational areas, including our responsiveness to calls from the public,” he warned.
“Sustained investment is required to ensure Police Scotland has the capacity and capability to meet increasing demand.”
Justice secretary Keith Brown blamed Westminster.
He said: “The idea that the Conservatives want more cash for the police is like a bad joke, given that they denied the police a pay rise in England and Wales last year – meaning no consequential funding in Scotland.”
He added: “They have also cut the Scottish government’s budget by over five per cent, allowed rampant inflation to eat away at everyone’s living standards, and now want to cut public services even further to give tax cuts to those earning more than £150,000 per year.”
Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary Jamie Greene said: “It is not just senior police officers who are leaving the force. Overall officer numbers are at their lowest level in Police Scotland’s history and the situation will only get worse with the SNP’s cuts to the policing budget, which break their own 2021 manifesto promise.
“Our officers are overworked and overstretched and ultimately many have left the force as a result of stress related to their job, which is an extremely sad situation to have reached.”