The cabinet secretary will be aware that one of the areas of exponential growth in pressure on Police Scotland is in relation to mental health. Officers often spend entire shifts accompanying vulnerable people at accident and emergency departments. Although they are not best equipped for that role, police are being left to pick up the pieces from Scotland’s mental health crisis. Because 85 per cent of revenue expenditure is on staffing, that use of time puts huge pressure on police resources.
The cabinet secretary will be aware that Scottish Liberal Democrats have long campaigned for more mental health professionals to be based in A and E departments and police stations, but roll-out so far has been sluggish. Of the 800 new workers who were promised by the Scottish Government, police stations have had only an additional 12. When will police stations have their fair share of those workers to help with that burden?