SNP Conference - praise for Scotland's police

Delegates at the SNP Annual Conference in Perth have today paid tribute to the more than 17,000 serving police officers in Scotland, who have helped contribute to a significant fall in crime across Scotland. Progress made includes five consecutive years of falls in recorded crime, which is now at a 37-year low, and a massive 44 per cent reduction in crimes involving offensive weapons.

In 2007 the SNP promised to recruit an extra 1000 police officers, which have been delivered and maintained in the face of significant budget cuts from Westminster. The situation in Scotland contrasts sharply with that in England, where 16,000 police officers are to lose their jobs. While Theresa May was booed at the Police Federation’s annual conference, Kenny MacAskill received a standing ovation at the SPF conference.

SNP Delegates today also expressed their regret that, as Scotland moves toward a new single national police force, the UK Government has decided not to allow them to recover VAT, effectively penalising emergency services.

Commenting, SNP MSP John Finnie – a former serving police officer – said:

“Scotland’s police officers and their support staff deserve our sincere thanks for the work that they do, and the progress that they have made in making Scotland a safer place to live.

“South of the border, the UK Government has effectively turned its back on its police force – imposing swingeing cuts across the board - so it’s no wonder that Theresa May was roundly booed by delegates at the Police Federation conference.

“Here in Scotland, the Scottish Government has gone to great lengths to work with the police force rather than against it – and it’s only by doing this that such great progress is being made.

“Of course, some of the dreadful decisions taken by Westminster affect Scotland as well, such as the decision to make the new national police force pay VAT. Treating an emergency service as a cash cow sends a terrible message and shows why it would be far better for all of the decisions surrounding our police force to be taken here in Scotland.”