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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 January 2008, 12:44 GMT
Policing resources 'inadequate'
Police recruits
MSPs said ministers must go further on police numbers
Scotland does not have enough police officers to do the job properly, a Holyrood inquiry has found.

The Scottish Parliament's justice committee said ministers should find more cash to take on at least 1,000 more police by 2011.

The Scottish Government has announced the recruitment of 500 officers.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill welcomed the committee's findings, but said the key to an effective policing was capacity, not overall size.

MSPs also called for an independent review of the role of modern police forces.

What matters to the public is the ability of the police to respond to local problems
Kenny MacAskill
Justice secretary

Justice committee convener, Tory justice spokesman Bill Aitken, said: "Our committee is unanimous in our opinion that at current levels, police resources appear to be inadequate to allow forces to effectively meet all of their present commitments."

"We welcome the Scottish Government's commitment to recruit 500 additional officers to work in communities across Scotland but think they need to go further."

The government's recruitment plans are part of a drive to put 1,000 extra officers in communities - which will also be achieved through retention and re-deployment.

Opposition parties have claimed the government performed a U-turn on an SNP manifesto commitment to take on 1,000 more officers.

'Open mind'

Ms MacAskill said he would study the committee's recommendations with an open mind before making a detailed response.

"What matters to the public is the ability of the police to respond to local problems - whether it's a crime, an accident, or a landslide," he said.

"And the key to the police service's ability to respond is not its overall size, but its capacity. The right people, with the right skills, in the right place, at the right time.

"That's why this government is focussing on building the capacity of the police service in Scotland to respond - not just the numbers."

The report came after parliament demanded that ministers found more money for extra police, as it voted to endorse the principles of the budget plans.

However, Finance Secretary John Swinney has warned that cash would have to be taken from elsewhere to pay for the move.

SEE ALSO
Expert casts doubt on police plan
27 Nov 07 |  Scotland
Call to increase police spending
17 Sep 07 |  Scotland
Retaining police 'not effective'
23 Nov 07 |  Highlands and Islands
Justice Department - budget plans
14 Nov 07 |  Scotland
Funds to recruit 500 new officers
12 Nov 07 |  Scotland

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