Police officers on duty at a Celtic v Rangers match, one of which will take place on Sunday.
Scottish Tories launch plans to buy body-worn cameras to give to Police Scotland and allow officers to do their job properly
By Bill Heaney
The SNP has been accused of severely under-funding Police Scotland as only five per cent of officers in the country have vital body-worn cameras to help them do their job.
And the Scottish Tories have vowed to invest in the force to ensure all officers in Scotland would receive this bit of equipment if they manage to topple the Nats at Holyrood.
According to the latest figures, there are about 950 body-worn cameras which are utilised, but there are about 16,600 cops on the beat.
They are usually attached to an officer’s uniform to capture video and audio evidence when they attend scenes and act as an independent witness for potential court cases.
Police Scotland is the only force in the UK which has not equipped operational officers with body-worn cameras as standard with First Minister Humza Yousaf promising during the leadership campaign he would quicken up the roll-out.
They have been described as a “basic” item of kit, with Police Scotland previously requesting about 11,000 cameras but not even receiving a tenth of that.
Dame Angiolini’s preliminary report into policing in Scotland recommended that the force should “accelerate its plans to expand the use of body-worn video technology.”
However, the judge’s final report acknowledged that “budgetary constraints have prevented any further progress on procurement.”
The Tories have estimated that supplying the police with enough body-worn cameras for each police officer that needs one would cost taxpayers about £7.6 million. It will be discussed at their conference today.
Scottish Conservative Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Jamie Greene, said: “The painfully slow roll out of body cameras highlights the shameful neglect of Scotland’s police by the SNP government.
“It’s unacceptable, which is why the Scottish Conservatives would ensure that, within a year of coming to power, every police officer in Scotland would have this vital, yet basic, piece of equipment – no ifs, no buts.
“These cameras would help reduce the huge court backlogs – by increasing the number of guilty pleas – as well as protecting officers and increasing police transparency.
“Despite these clear benefits, SNP cuts to Police Scotland’s capital budget has meant far too few officers have received equipment that would help them fight crime and keep Scotland’s streets safe.
Scottish Conservative Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Jamie Greene