Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant has revealed that she has been contacted by Officers from the Highlands & Islands Division of Police Scotland who are frustrated at not being able to provide the service they once did to the public in the North.
Rhoda Grant said: “I have been contacted by Officers from Highlands & Islands Division who advised that morale is low amongst staff and Officers. They have been instructed not to deal with the public at rural Police Stations, but instead to direct them to use the 101 telephone service. I am advised that the Controllers answering this service cannot cope with demand and many calls are missed. It is also claimed that this Division has to reduce its fleet by 25 vehicles and as a result Officers are struggling to source vehicles to respond to calls.“
She continued: “I have written to Chief Superintendent Julian Innes, the Area Commander to comment on these claims. I fully understand that the Scottish Government have made significant cuts to the Police budget and savings will need to be made, however we need a service that is fit for purpose, efficient and effective. It is difficult to see how a rural division, dependant of vehicles to police the area, can make these cuts without affecting service. Confidence in the service requires good relationships between officers and the public, in order for people to support the police and provide information. The 101 telephone service is useful but is not a substitute for bobbies on the beat.“