Police Scotland is getting a “raw deal” from the Scottish Government on funding and is lagging behind other forces, a Labour MSP has claimed.
Figures obtained by Scottish Labour from the House of Commons library show that out of 42 police forces across the UK in 2017-2018, Police Scotland was fifth from bottom for capital investment funding.
The statistics put total capital expenditure at £34.1 million for the force – working out at £1,526 for each of Police Scotland’s 22,370 employees.
Police Scotland is second only to the Metropolitan Police in the UK for staff numbers, with a total of 39,733 people employed by the London force.
The Met has total capital expenditure of £431.4 million, with an expenditure of £10,857 per employee.
West Midlands is the third largest UK force, and it had an expenditure of £1,759 per each of its 10,375 employees, totalling £18.2 million.
Scottish Labour justice spokesman Daniel Johnson said: “These figures show that Police Scotland is getting a raw deal from the SNP on funding and lagging behind similarly-sized forces in other parts of the UK.
“You can’t keep people safe on the cheap, but when it comes to investing in our police force the Scottish Government’s promise to protect budgets is simply shallow spin.
“Police need the equipment and resource to do their jobs properly, and the investment they need to fight new generations of crimes, such as cyber crime.
“Labour will invest in our people and public services to keep communities safe.”
The Scottish Government has said it is protecting the police resource budget in real terms in every year of the current Parliament, with funding for the Scottish Police Authority in 2019-20 increasing by £42.3 million – bringing the annual policing budget to more than £1.2 billion.
It includes a 52% increase to the capital budget which the Government says will help to fund essential investment in IT infrastructure and support mobile working for officers.
A spokesman for Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “These comments are rank hypocrisy from Labour given that their own budget plans would have seen a 3% reduction inflicted on the Police budget.
“The fact is that Police Scotland had the fourth highest total capital expenditure of all UK police forces in 2017-18.
“Our £1.2 billion funding for Police Scotland this year includes a 52% increase in the capital budget to fund essential investment in IT infrastructure and support mobile working for officers, allowing them to access information remotely and spend more time in communities.
“While the allocation of resources is for the Chief Constable and SPA to determine, we are protecting the police resource budget in real terms in every year of the current Parliament, delivering a boost of £100 million by 2021, despite further cuts to the Scottish Budget from the UK Government.
“We continue to press the UK Government for a refund of the £125 million paid by Police Scotland in VAT between 2013 and 2018.”