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Police Officers (Health)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 11th December 2019.

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Photo of Humza Yousaf Humza Yousaf Scottish National Party

I am astounded by Jeremy Balfour’s brass neck in talking about “a backdrop of cuts” in policing. Over the decade, his party has cut 20,000 officers. Even the promise of increasing police officer numbers by 20,000 is simply about getting policing back to the standard that it was at before his party made those cuts. If the Conservatives followed Scotland’s lead, they would have to increase their police officer numbers by 27,000. I will not take a lecture on “a backdrop of cuts” when Jeremy Balfour’s party has cut this Government’s budget over the past decade.

On the substance of the question, Police Scotland takes issues of physical and mental wellbeing extraordinarily seriously—I am satisfied that it does so, as I have said previously. On whether there is more that can be done, I look forward to receiving the research from the Scottish Police Federation, to which I think Jeremy Balfour alluded. Once I have that research, I will, of course, be more than happy to work with the chief constable and Police Scotland. The Scottish Police Federation, the Scottish Police Authority, Police Scotland, and, indeed, the Government have a shared endeavour to ensure that our officers are supported in what is an extremely difficult job. We will continue to support them by investing in our police service and by ensuring that revenue is protected and—as has been done over the past financial year—that the capital budget is increased.