Anger of rank and file cops over plans NOT to investigate minor crime. Bobbies fear it’ll set ‘dangerous precedent’ and criminals could ‘target certain areas’ with NO fear of prosecution.
- SNP Government accused of a ‘shabby surrender to criminals’
Police plans to no longer investigate every crime will set a ‘dangerous precedent’ and lead to public mistrust of the force, rank-and-file officers have warned.
The Mail reported yesterday that a trial project in the North-East will see officers told not to follow up on some minor crimes.
Police Scotland insists it will be a ‘proportionate response to crime’ and provide more time to focus on responding to emergencies.
But critics have accused the SNP Government of a ‘shabby surrender to criminals’ after imposing cuts on the Police Scotland budget.
Last night David Threadgold, chairman of the Scottish Police Federation (SPF), representing rank-and-file officers, said: ‘For a national police force to say to to its citizens they will potentially no longer be investigating crime is a very dangerous precedent indeed.
‘We could have a situation where this gets rolled out across Scotland, and then reasonably intelligent criminals target certain areas safe in the knowledge there will be no investigation on the back of their crime – that is a real concern for us and could be a reality for our citizens.’
Mr Threadgold told the BBC he had concerns about the ability of staff to decide what is and is not investigated, saying: ‘Sir Iain Livingstone, the former Chief Constable, said police staff do incredible things and their success is the strong bond of trust they have with the public. How can we even try to continue that if we send them the message we will not assist them?’
Pay rise ends threat of ‘work to rule’
A PAY hike of 7 per cent has been agreed for all police officers in Scotland, heading off the prospect of a ‘work to rule’.
The deal also includes a commitment to commission an independent review of pay and benefits.
Martyn Evans, chairman of the Scottish Police Authority, said: last night ‘I am pleased we have now reached an agreement which recognises the valuable contribution of our police officers and the unique set of duties and requirements placed upon them.’
The Scottish Police Federation had called for a pay rise of 8.5 per cent and last month it urged officers not to report for duty when they should not be working.
A demonstration by off-duty police officers, which would have been held outside the Scottish parliament today, has been called off. The federation said it will now start talks over next year’s pay deal.
Mr Threadgold said the move could lead to younger police officers not getting the skills they need to go on and investigate more complex crimes, and could also result in low-level criminals moving on to more serious offences.
He did not believe the scheme would free up police time so officers could focus on responding to more serious crimes.
The SPF has suggested investing more money in the NHS and other public services so police officers spend less of their time dealing with mental health crises. Kate Wallace, chief executive of Victim Support Scotland, said ‘all crime types can be traumatising for people who have been affected’.
Police Scotland’s North-East Divisional Commander, Chief Superintendent Graeme Mackie, said: ‘The pilot process will enable local police officers to focus on those crimes that have proportionate lines of inquiry and potentially enable them to give more time to local concerns and priorities.’
The Scottish Government said: ‘While these decisions are a matter for the Chief Constable, it is vital Police Scotland continues to inspire public trust and maintains relationships with local communities.’