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Last Updated: Friday, 6 February, 2004, 08:30 GMT
Forces warn of recruitment crisis
New recruits
New recruits are needed to keep police numbers strong
Recruitment in Scotland's police forces is heading towards crisis point, according to the Police Federation.

The organisation revealed half of all officers are eligible to retire over the next eight years and claims it does not have the recruits or the expertise to replace them.

The Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (Acpos) said it was aware of the situation.

And it added it was confident there would be no adverse effect on service.

In the 1970s, there was a large intake of additional police officers across the country following a report into the service.

At that time, staffing was increased and pay and conditions were improved.

The poor officers on the streets are going to have to chase their tails even more and it is a crisis, it is a crisis looming
Norrie Flowers
Scottish Police Federation
However, the majority of that intake is getting ready to retire.

The Scottish Police Federation claims that half of all officers could leave the service over the next eight years.

Chairman of the federation, Norrie Flowers, said that was something the forces should have been prepared for.

Mr Flowers said: "There are just not enough police officers on the street.

"In the circumstances we are describing with regards to recruitment over the next few years, if they do not recruit the numbers that are retiring, and that's just to tread water, then that crisis is going to get deeper and deeper.

"The poor officers on the streets are going to have to chase their tails even more and it is a crisis, it is a crisis looming."

'Experience lost'

Tayside Police drugs coordinator Inspector Chris White is retiring soon.

He warns that a vast area of experience and expertise is going to be lost.

"Clearly there are a large number of people going to leave over the next few years and I think it would be simplistic to think that you can just replace those with numbers," he said.

The Scottish Executive has reaffirmed its commitment to increase the number of front-line staff.

BBC Scotland's Fiona Walker
"The federation says the recruitment problem is only just beginning to kick in"

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