The Scottish Police Federation is calling on the new Chief Constable of Police Scotland, Jo Farrell, to support frontline police officers and to recognise the impact of low pay on the service.
General Secretary of the SPF, David Kennedy, said:
“We welcome Jo Farrell as the new Chief Constable of Police Scotland. This is an ideal moment to begin a new chapter where every serving police officer in Scotland is supported and valued. Police officers are doing an outstanding job despite fewer officers on the street. This is an opportunity for a new approach and to build trust on issues such as declining pay, low staffing, and lack of support for serving officers.”
Police officers’ pay has fallen behind other public sector bodies since 2006 when the previous pay mechanism was withdrawn.
The SPF has previously highlighted the issues facing police officers on a daily basis, including reduced staffing levels, crumbling infrastructure, lack of equipment and pay cuts, all contributing to low morale. Police officers are often called to deal with issues that arise from overstretched public services such as mental health services.
The SPF reports that the number of police officers working in Scotland has fallen, despite a pledge by the Scottish government to safeguard the number of officers on the street in order to protect the public. In the first three months of 2023, there were 16,615 police officers, a significant drop from the high of 17,454 in 2012.
The original agreement to recruit 1,000 extra officers should have ensured numbers never fall below 17,234, but this pledge has since been abandoned by the Scottish Government.