Numbers of police in Forth Valley decrease
43 people have been dispersed in new zone in city
Police numbers in Forth Valley fell by 13 in the last 12 months,
Figures released by Police Scotland shown the number of officers in the second quarter of 2018-19 was 626 compared with 639 in the same period last financial year.
Since the creation of Police Scotland in third quarter of 2013, divisional officer numbers across was Forth Valley are down seven compared with the current quarter.
Mid–Scotland and Fife Tory MSP, Dean Lockhart, said that the statistics showed the Scottish Government had broken its pledge to put extra 1000 extra bobbies on the beat.
He added: “It’ll be very concerning to communities across Forth Valley, including Stirling, that the number of police officers is down.
“As we have seen recently in Stirling city centre, visibility is a key element of tackling crime and provides a welcome reassurance to the public.
“The fact is it’s difficult to maintain confidence that people will be kept safe when numbers are dwindling like this.
“Under the SNP, we are seeing an increasingly soft touch approach to justice and the Scottish Government must urgently give Police Scotland the resources it needs to keep us safe.”
Stirling SNP MSP Bruce Crawford talked up the Scottish Government’s record on police recruitment.
He said: “When the SNP was first elected at Scotland’s government in 2007, the number of police officers that our country has was 16,237 but through investment in our policing service we have increased that number to 17,147 – 913 more officers according to latest figures.
“Across the country, we have seen a marginal decrease of 0.6– per cent in officer numbers since September last year.
“Crime is at a 43 year low in Scotland, with reoffending at its lowest rate in almost two decades.”
Police in Stirling last month launched a crackdown on antisocial behaviour and crime in the city centre by introducing a `dispersal zone’ aimed at keeping persistent trouble makers out of a number of streets in the town.
The scheme has been operating 24–hours a day, seven days a week and will run for three months.
It came following a recent crackdown on crime, called Operation Steadfast, that saw Police Scotland and Stirling Council carry out a joint operation in Friars Street.
Area Commander Gill Boulton told the Observer that over the last four weeks 43 people had been `dispersed’ using the new power.