Scotland politics

Scottish Conservatives attack SNP over Police Scotland 'failings'

Police pass out at Tulliallan Image copyright Getty Images

Concerns about the performance of Police Scotland "fall completely at the SNP's door", the Scottish Conservatives have claimed.

The Tories said "failings" over local policing and IT systems had not been addressed since the force was created.

And they urged the Scottish government to heed the warnings it had been given by communities and police officers.

The government recently set seven new priority areas for the force, including localism, inclusion and adaptability.

As part of the consultation phase for the new priority framework, Edinburgh City Council submitted feedback saying it was "difficult" for officers to maintain relationships at a local level due to police being moved around different areas within the force.

The Scottish Police Federation (SPF) also listed a range of concerns which included Scottish government funding of the force for tools such as an effective IT system.

Conservative justice spokesman Douglas Ross said these were "very severe warnings that cover a range of areas where Police Scotland is struggling".

He added: "This falls completely at the SNP's door, which created the single force and has overseen its first few years.

"Ministers said local policing wouldn't be hampered, but here we have Scotland's capital city saying otherwise.

"This message is replicated across the country and I hear concerns about local policy everywhere I go."

Community focus

He added: "Communities and police officers alike are highlighting failings which we were assured by the SNP would not occur.

"The Scottish government has to take heed of this, and make sure the police can deal not only with current challenges, but future ones too."

A Scottish government spokeswoman said the new Strategic Police Priorities would strengthen the community focus of policing, ensuring that national priorities take account of the needs of local communities.

She added: "In terms of funding, the Scottish government is committed to protecting the police revenue budget in real terms for the entirety of this parliament, delivering an additional £100m of investment over the next five years, in addition to £55m of reform funding in 2016-17.

"It is for the Scottish Police Authority and Police Scotland to determine the best possible use of the budget according to national and local priorities."