Rise in police officers 'disguises frontline staff taking on admin roles'

Opposition politicians claim a small rise in police officer numbers masks frontline staff filling in back office roles.

The latest official statistics on officer numbers rose by six full-time equivalent (FTE) in the final quarter of 2017.

There were 17,256 FTE officers on December 31 2017, no change from the same date from the previous year.

The number of officers has risen by 1,022 (6.3%) FTE since March 2017.

Scottish police officer figures (Scottish Government/PA)
Scottish police officer figures (Scottish Government/PA)

Labour and the Liberal Democrats highlighted concerns about police taking on civilian staff duties.

Lib Dem justice spokesman Liam McArthur said: "These statistics only tell half the story. They fail to take into account the fact that police officers are being pulled away from frontline duties to cover a substantial workload previously carried out by civilian staff.

"The Scottish Government need to acknowledge that this is a consequence of their botched centralisation and other policy decisions. Anything else does scant justice to the officers and staff who work so hard on our behalf day in, day out."

New statistics show police numbers are static but do not report the 2,000 civilian staff that have been lost since the SNP's damaging centralisation of the police.https://t.co/E3z1RuaCMPpic.twitter.com/IBzj2LmiM3

-- Scottish Lib Dems (@scotlibdems) February 6, 2018

His Scottish Labour equivalent, Daniel Johnson added: "These figures hide a wider problem in our police force.

"A recent survey showed the public feel that the police are less visible in their local communities, particularly as more and more police officers have to perform administrative roles after cuts to backroom staff.

"A small increase in the number of police officers will not fill this void."

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