Reduction in police officers a 'slap in the face' says MP

An MP has described a reduction in almost 80 police officers across the north-east as a “slap in the face to the safety of residents”.

Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 2:29 pm
There are now 80 less police officers in the north-east than there was in 2017

Conservative MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, Andrew Bowie, raised concerns over the planned closure of Portlethen Police Station at Westminster and the impact it would have on officer numbers in the town.

He also referenced figures he obtained showing there are now 80 fewer officers in the north-east than in 2017.

Speaking in Westminster, Mr Bowie said: “I have obtained figures which show a serious reduction in the number of beat bobbies since 2017, almost 80 officers in A division alone.

"Of course, it can be shown that the number of national officers have increased, but that is of little value to someone who has been broken into in Kemnay, or a school is vandalised in Laurencekirk.

“Our hardworking officers on the frontline in Aberdeenshire deserve to be fully resourced. The closure of stations like Portlethen will only heighten this.

“Communities like Portlethen deserve more police patrolling their streets.

"Instead, if the station closes, officers will be based ten miles away in Stonehaven.

“Sadly however, within Scotland, despite the excellent work of individual officers and cross border working on so many issues, over the past few years we have seen increasing centralisation of police services in Scotland with the loss of local accountability following the merger of the eight police forces in Scotland into Police Scotland in 2013 governed by the Scottish Police Authority who are accountable to Scottish Ministers.”

Commenting on the latest figures, Mr Bowie said: “The figures are disheartening to communities across the north-east who deserve to have officers patrolling their streets.

"The SNP have demonstrated time and time again that their priorities lie elsewhere which is a slap in the face to the safety of residents.

“The reality is that there are fewer frontline officers across our communities and local stations like Portlethen are facing the brunt of budget cuts under the Scottish Government.

“With fewer officers and the closure of stations, the north-east is certainly not as safe.”