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Police Scotland needs £65m more financial officer warns

Police Scotland says it can’t afford body worn video or other vital kit.

A meeting of the Scottish Police Authority heard the force will be unable to keep up with other UK forces unless there is a significant cash injection.

James Gray, the force’s Chief Financial Officer, warned funding is “significantly short” of the £463m capital required to deliver a policing service for the 21st century.

Without action, the force will focus only on estates work needed to cover health and safety issues. It is currently under-funded by £20m. Building sales could generate £100m but there isn’t the up front money needed to enable it.

The Fleet strategy would progress at a slow pace, topping out at a maximum of 1,400 vehicles (40%) transitioned to low emissions, leaving the force with no option but to buy diesel patrol cars.

Mr Gray warned Police Scotland was already feeling inflationary pressures – made worse by having the same cash budget as last year.

Its utility budget has been increased by 40%.

Chief Constable Iain Livingstone told the board that the force will be need more than £65m on top of current allocations.

He said: “Investment in policing in Scotland – in our police, in out buildings, in our vehicles, in our technology, is required so that we can continue to complete the progress we’ve made.

“I passionately believe that a properly funded police service is vital to the economic security and social cohesion of Scottish society,” he added.

The board signalled it would push for more funding from the Scottish government.

PSA Chair, Martyn Evans, said the force’s future is reliant on “maintaining a complete grip on the income and expenditure”.

The force’s Federation challenged the Chief Constable over the state of finances.

Chair David Hamilton said: “Surely some of the £2.2bn of budget cuts that the service will have experienced by 2026 which he diplomatically phrases as ‘savings’ should be returned to the service?”

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