Police chief denies Moray stations are suffering staffing pressures

Claims of  police under staffing came from Community Council meeting.
Claims of police under staffing came from Community Council meeting.

MORAY’S SENIOR POLICE commander has hit out at claims local police stations are often dangerously understaffed.

Chief Inspector Stewart Mackie was responding to claims that police stations in Moray were often very short of cover. They came from a junior officer during a community liaison visit to a meeting of the Elgin Community Council.

Local police attend Community Council meeting to provide them with updates on crime figures in their area – it was during one such report that PC Leanne Jewison is reported to have told Elgin community representatives that only four officers were available in Elgin during one shift.

PC Jewison is quoted as having said: “A lot of the public do not realise how short-staffed we are – we are being pushed to the limit.”

Her comments follow claims last week that Police Scotland is losing officers throughout the country and are suffering as a result.

However, Chief Inspector Mackie hit back, insisting that all emergency services would be stretched at times and come under a degree of pressure, but that the increase in crime detection figures in Moray proved that there was no problem in the region.

“In recent times we have been very successful with our recruitment,” he said, adding: “We are able to manage the incidents that we have and our crime figures and detection rates reflect that.

“The ability to draw on personnel from other parts of the north-east division is one of the strengths of Police Scotland.”

Last week local MSP and Tory shadow justice secretary Douglas Ross demanded that the Scottish Government “reassure the public” over statistics showing police numbers had fallen to their lowest levels in five years.

“It’s right that Police Scotland should have the flexibility to deploy officers and staff to adapt to the policing priorities of our local communities – but the SNP’s smoke and mirrors policy on police numbers isn’t going to cut it,” he told insideMoray.

On the latest Moray claims, Mr Ross said that they were “alarming”, adding: “This is an issue we must get answers on – this could lead to serious problems in Moray.”