Scotland heading towards policing ‘catastrophe’ after hundreds more officers leave the force

6 February 2024, 13:02

Police numbers in Scotland are now at their lowest level since 2008
Police numbers in Scotland are now at their lowest level since 2008. Picture: Alamy

By Alan Zycinski

Scotland is heading towards a policing "catastrophe" after another 250 officers left its force without being replaced, LBC has been warned.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Numbers are now at their lowest level since 2008 with hundreds more retiring or resigning between October and December 2023.

The Scottish Government's own publication calls the drop from 16,613 to 16,363  full time personnel a "significant" decrease. 

Officers weren't replaced because of a hiring freeze announced by Police Scotland in August last year.

David Kennedy from the Scottish Police Federation told LBC these latest statistics come as no surprise.

He said: "We knew this was going to happen. A recruitment freeze took place which meant numbers were dropping rapidly as officers left.

Read more: 'XL Bully' owner whose dogs mauled grandmother, 68, to death begs for breed to be ‘wiped out’

Read more: Harry sets aside royal rift as he flies in to see King Charles who remains 'very positive' as cancer treatment begins

"We've had a real concern that by April we could have less than 16,000 officers within Police Scotland.

"That absolutely could happen because there's the domino effect of officers (who are still there) getting so stressed and then saying 'you know what, we've had enough'.

"The knock-on effect is then catastrophic for Scotland. Members of the public then don't get a decent service.

"We have to stop, look at where we are and get it back to where we should be and make sure the frontline officers are what we prioritise for the people of Scotland."

Police Scotland bosses said "hard choices had to be taken to deliver effective policing within the funding available" when their recruitment freeze was announced.

But that was before the Scottish Government set out its latest budget proposals in December.

Ministers committed to investing £1.5billion in the force in the next financial year - increasing its "resource budget" by 5.6% and its "capital budget" by 12.5%,

Chief Constable's Jo Farrell said the revenue uplift "allows us to restart officer recruitment for the year ahead".

Police Scotland has been asked whether the recruitment freeze has officially ended. 

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

A Trident test launch has failed

Trident launch fails for second time in a row in blow for Navy, as missile 'falls yards from nuclear sub that fired it'

People Kevin Costner

Divorce of Kevin Costner and Christine Baumgartner finalised

Jonnie Irwin and his wife, Jessica

Jonnie Irwin's grieving wife Jessica breaks silence as she reveals his death 'still doesn't feel real' two weeks on

Prince William has called for an end to the Israel-Hamas war

Prince William ‘knew making plea for permanent peace in Gaza would cause controversy’ - but ‘felt he had no choice’

Alexei Navalny was 'murdered' by Putin

Putin plans to launch ‘killing spree’ against Russia critics in the UK after Alexei Navalny 'murder'

Defendant Ruby Franke looks on during court in St George, Utah

YouTuber Ruby Franke apologises at sentencing in child abuse case

Duane 'Keffe D' Davis in court during a status hearing at the Regional Justice Centre in Las Vegas

Ex-gang leader’s murder trial over Tupac Shakur killing pushed back to November

Ruby Franke will serve up to 60 years in prison

Parenting advice YouTuber and influencer Ruby Franke jailed for abusing her children

Shehbaz Sharif

Rivals of Pakistan ex-premier Khan name Shehbaz Sharif as joint candidate for PM

Palestinian crowds struggle to buy bread from a bakery in Rafah, Gaza Strip

UN World Food Programme suspends aid amid chaos in northern Gaza

The Security Council meets before voting on a resolution concerning a ceasefire in Gaza at United Nations headquarters

US vetoes UN resolution demanding immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza

Under the order, Lingham is banned from entering Holt Lowes between February 1 and October 1.

Shell-shocked: 'Addicted' Norfolk man 'illegally collected 3,000 native bird eggs'

In an apparent attempt to get ahead of another possible rebellion, Labour on Tuesday tabled its lengthy amendment, which will be voted on tomorrow.

'I want to do what is right': Labour's ceasefire motion is 'broader' and 'goes further' than the SNP's, says David Lammy

Prince William has called for an end to the Israel-Hamas war

Israel says Gaza war will only end when 'Hamas is dismantled' in direct reply to Prince William’s intervention

David Neal has been sacked by the Home Office

Home Office fires immigration chief inspector David Neal after claims about security risks at major London airport

Shahd Waleed is trying to leave Rafah with her parents and enter Egypt

'They want us to experience pain': Young woman trapped in Rafah with her parents tells of terror as Israel invasion looms