Police (Fife)

Part of Question Time — Scottish Executive – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:30 pm on 27th March 2003.

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Photo of Jim Wallace Jim Wallace Liberal Democrat 2:30 pm, 27th March 2003

I do not accept the basis of Mr Harding's question. He will find that in Fife, as in other parts of Scotland, police numbers are at record levels. In Fife, there were 920 officers on 31 December 2002, compared with 835 in June 1999. By my reckoning, that is an increase of more than 10 per cent in the number of police officers over the parliamentary session.

We are also allowing more support staff to be engaged, which frees up officers for front-line duty. With regard to the funding that has gone into Fife, the level of grant-aided expenditure there will rise by more than the national average in each of the next three years. This year, there will be a rise of £44.4 million, which will rise to £57.8 million in 2005-06. Those are generous settlements by any stretch of the imagination, and they allow the chief constable of Fife constabulary to deploy additional officers to promote effective law and order policies in Fife.