Brain drain claim as veteran police quit

Are Police Scotland losing too many experienced officers?
Are Police Scotland losing too many experienced officers?

The number of experienced police officers who have left the force since 2013 is “shocking”, according to Central Scotland Scottish Conservative MSP Alison Harris.

She says the number who have quit since the creation of Police Scotland is “particularly troubling” after a survey claimed to have found that one in three staff want to leavewithin three years.

Figures obtained by a Freedom of Information request from the Scottish Conservatives found that more than 1400 officers whose length of service ranged from 26 to 30 years have left since 2013.

A total of 3159 police staff have quit, of which 99 had 30 years’ service or more.

The query also disclosed that 310 officers who left had two years’ service or less and 239 had between three and five years’ service.

Alison Harris said: “For Police Scotland to perform effectively, nationally and locally, it requires a range of experience, experience which is being lost left, right and centre.

“The Forth Valley division serves around 294,430 people who will now be rightly concerned about the forces’ efficiency going forward.”

However, the Scottish Government argues the stats don’t tell the whole story.

A spokesman said: “We are committed to protecting the police resource budget in real terms in every year of this Parliament, delivering a boost of £100 million by 2021.

“We have also provided an additional £55 million of reform funding in 2016-17, and latest figures show this Government has been delivering historically high levels of police officers, compared to cuts south of the border.”

He added: “As we have made clear for some time, the Scottish Police Authority and Police Scotland are working on a long-term strategy for a flexible, modern and sustainable police service, building on the recently-published strategic policing priorities.”

“This will ensure sufficient resources and expertise are in place to tackle emerging areas of threat such as cyber-crime and fraud, to ensure the service can continue to help keep the public safe.