Police resources are currently inadequate to meet present commitments. That is the conclusion reached by the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee today in the Report of its Inquiry into the Effective Use of Police Resources.
The Justice Committee further recommended a fundamental and independent review of the police role and responsibilities in the 21 st Century and highlights a number of areas where improvements could be made in the operation and governance of the police as well as areas of further scrutiny.
Committee Convener Bill Aitken MSP, said: “Our Committee is unanimous in our opinion that at current levels, police resources appear to be inadequate to allow forces to effectively meet all of their present commitments.
“We welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to recruit 500 additional officers to work in communities across Scotland but think they need to go further. The Committee considers that Scottish Government plans to identify a further 500 officers for front-line policing through a combination of retention and redeployment to be very challenging to deliver. We have therefore recommended that the Government should find additional funds over the next three years to ensure that by 2011 there are at least 1,000 more police officers than at present.
“The Committee has also recommended that there should be an independent review of the role and responsibilities of the police in Scotland in order to ensure that we have a service that is fit for the 21 st century.”
The Report also welcomes a number of initiatives including the creation of The Scottish Police Services Authority (SPSA) in April 2007 and the establishment of the Scottish Policing Performance Framework which will assist the management and monitoring of police performance.
The Justice Committee agreed to undertake an inquiry into the effective use of police resources at its meeting on 11 September 2007. Forty years after the enactment of the Police (Scotland) Act 1967 the Committee considered it timely to assess how efficiently and effectively the police are currently delivering their services to the people of Scotland.
The Inquiry was intended to focus primarily on the management and deployment of police officers in Scotland, including proposals from the Scottish Government for an increase of 1000 officers.
The Committee will carry out further inquiry work into community policing in Scotland later this year. It will include a consideration of the definition of community policing and will seek to establish baseline figures for community police officers in order to aid future monitoring.