The SNP will continue to support Police Scotland and ensure that they have the resources they need to protect the people of Scotland. We will protect the police revenue budget in real terms for the entirety of this parliament – delivering an additional £100 million of investment over the next five years.
Under the SNP, recorded crime has fallen by 42 per cent and we have a higher number of officers than at any time during the previous administration. It is vital that we keep frontline policing strong to keep crime down. However, the nature of crime is changing and the police need to reflect this. We will therefore ensure that the police also have more specialists, such as experts in cyber-crime and counter-fraud and that the service has the right mix and numbers of staff for the future.
Despite emergency services in England having tax relief from VAT, the UK government failed to deliver the same relief for Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, which has cost Scottish taxpayers more than £140 million since 2013.
After 140 SNP calls over five years for an end to VAT charges for our police and fire services, the Chancellor has finally relented. The decision to end this injustice is long-overdue but it doesn’t go far enough.
At Westminster, SNP MPs will continue to make the case to the UK government for the rebate of the £140 million charged and allow that money to be invested in Scotland’s emergency services.