Police officers mixing with the crowds at a recent Rangers match.
By Bill Heaney
Police will be out in force tonight at the Celtic v Rangers match at Parkhead in Glasgow where 60,000 fans are expected to turn up for the game.
It was the same last night in Edinburgh at Easter Road when the police turned out in large numbers for the derby match at Easter Roads between Hibernian and Heart of Midlothian.
That’s big pressure for Police Scotland now that Scotland now has the lowest number of police officers since the merger of regional forces in 2013, according to Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur.
Responding to new figures showing that Police Scotland now has the lowest number of officers since the merger of Scotland’s regional forces in 2013.
A highly competitive derby between Hibernian and Hearts. Picture by Bill Heaney
Liam McArthur MSP said: “Since the SNP, aided by the Conservatives and Labour, forced through the centralisation of Scotland’s police service, 12 out of 13 local police divisions have seen their officer numbers cut.
“These figures come hot on the heels of Scottish Liberal Democrat research revealing a two thirds reduction in the number of special constables.
“The centralisation was delivered with a promise of financial savings. These have never materialised so the government have slashed officer numbers instead.
“We are looking at the end of community policing in Scotland unless ministers look again at how we resource our police service and the pressures that officers and staff are facing on every shift.
“When you pick up the phone to the police you should know there is an officer in your community that you can rely on. Under this SNP government that is simply not the case.”
Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton constituency Labour MSP, pictured, said: “It is disappointing to learn that police numbers are falling.
“People deserve to feel safe in their homes and their communities, being able to call on help when it is needed.
“During the pandemic, officers have been on the frontline. The demands of their job have remained the same as they were pre-Covid but they have had to battle through difficult situations with staff members isolating.
“The SNP Government must invest in our police force to ensure hard-working officers are able to respond quickly and appropriately.”