Police Scotland (Digital, Data and Information and Communications Technology Strategy)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 16th January 2020.

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Photo of Alexander Burnett Alexander Burnett Conservative

8. To ask the Scottish Government what progress is being made with the Police Scotland digital, data and ICT strategy. (S5O-04008)

Photo of Humza Yousaf Humza Yousaf Scottish National Party

The delivery of police ICT projects is a matter for the Scottish Police Authority and the chief constable. Police Scotland continues to make good progress on a number of ICT projects that are key to delivering on its DDICT strategy and which support the transformation of the service.

The introduction of mobile devices to front-line police officers is one of those projects. It is scheduled for completion by 31 March 2020. The project has received an overwhelmingly positive response, with some officers suggesting that it is the most positive piece of enabling technology in the past decade.

Photo of Alexander Burnett Alexander Burnett Conservative

Last year, Police Scotland confirmed to the Justice Committee that the Scottish National Party Government had underfunded its digital strategy, with the result that crucial equipment is not being rolled out quickly enough.

With considerable extra funding coming to the Scottish budget, thanks to the Barnett consequentials from United Kingdom Government investment, will the SNP now properly fund the strategy and finally move our police into the 21st century?

Photo of Humza Yousaf Humza Yousaf Scottish National Party

I would love Alexander Burnett to write to me after portfolio question time and tell me the exact details and amounts of consequentials that are coming to Scotland. He will forgive me if I have a healthy degree of scepticism about the amounts of money and consequentials that are being bandied about by the UK Government.

This financial year, we increased Police Scotland’s capital budget by 52 per cent. Of course I hear the calls to examine and explore whether the capital budget should be increased further, and I will give serious consideration to making that case to the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work. I am sure that when Alexander Burnett’s party sits down with the finance secretary in budget negotiations, they will bring the issue along as part of the negotiation.

I note that, as well as what the Scottish Government can provide in finances, it would be very helpful if the UK Government gave back the £125 million that it stole from Police Scotland in VAT.