Police Scotland to hold back crime figures until after general election, blaming poor IT system

Police Scotland to hold back crime figures until after general election, blaming poor IT system

Police Scotland has been criticised for holding back serious crime figures until after the general election.

Statistics covering drug, gun, race and domestic abuse offences were due to be published over the coming month but will now be held back until the autumn.

Officials blamed the delay on the single force’ troubled IT system, with the Scottish government saying the decision is “sensible”.

However, Liberal Democrat justice spokeswoman Alison McInnes said: “It is certainly convenient for the SNP that these statistics won’t be published until well after the election.

“Nearly two years on from the creation of Police Scotland, we need this data to fully understand the damaging impact of the SNP’s centralisation agenda. I’ll be asking further questions about the implications of this delay.”

Police Scotland said it was still trying to create a single IT network and was working hard to “resolve these data collection issues as quickly as possible”.

The news comes after last month’s furore over the single force’s handling of stop and search figures

Sir Stephen House, chief constable of Police Scotland (pictured), was called before a Holyrood committee in February because of data released by the BBC which showed a high number of under-12s had been stopped and searched by the police.

Police Scotland said six months ago that it had ended the practice of “consensual” stop and search of under-12s but the numbers showed hundreds had taken place after this claim.

Sir Stephen had told the Scottish Police Authority (SPA), the police watchdog, that he was forced to produce the data by Scotland’s Information Commissioner (SIC) but an exchange of emails between the single force and SIC gave no indication that SIC had pressured the police to release the figures and that they had actually been given voluntarily.

The committee was also told that 20,000 stop and search records were accidentally deleted from the Police Scotland database as a programmer had “pressed the wrong button”.

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