The centralisation of policing is continuing under the SNP Government, according to South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth, after Labour released new figures showing that the number of police officers in local divisions including Ayrshire were falling while those carrying out central police functions had risen.

Figures published by Labour show that since 2013, local divisions have lost 326 officers across Scotland including 28 officer posts in Ayrshire division.

Over the same period, regional police units have gained 79 officers, while the national police force has increased by 161 officers.

Commenting on the figures, South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said:

“The establishment of Police Scotland led to the centralisation of many services and a significant fall in the number of support staff in local areas, putting extra pressure on frontline police officers. It is therefore disappointing to see that we are now seeing the number of officers based within the local Ayrshire division fall.”

“The local police division do an excellent job given the restrictions on resources, but these figures reveal that centralisation has continued since the formation of Police Scotland”.

“While there has been a small rise in the number of officers across Scotland since the last quarter, more and more officers are being syphoned off local beats to regional and national roles and that is bad news for people in Ayrshire.”

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