Scotland is well served by its police service, and the service’s key role in keeping communities safe has been highlighted by the Covid-19 pandemic. All members will acknowledge that.
There is much in the Auditor General’s report that is to be welcomed. It recognises the improvements and progress across organisational leadership, capacity, governance, financial planning and management, and that the Scottish Police Authority has built on the progress that was highlighted in last year’s report.
Despite the constraints on Scotland’s public services from a decade of United Kingdom Government austerity, our investment in policing this year has increased by £60 million, to more than £1.2 billion. We have also given the SPA an additional £8.2 million to mitigate the impacts of Covid-19 on the policing budget.
Future policing requirements will be considered as part of the budget process. We will continue to support the SPA to address the findings of the report, and we will work closely with the SPA and Police Scotland to consider options to address the challenge of financial sustainability.