THE LOSS OF experienced police officers is being felt throughout Scotland – but only one division is being affected more than Moray and the North East.
Figures revealed earlier this week has brought condemnation by Moray-based MSP Douglas Ross, who also serves as the Conservative Shadow Secretary for Justice at the Scottish Parlimanent.
Speaking after a Freedom of Information request by his party showed that, since April 2013, there had been 1426 men and women leaving the force with lengths of service spanning 26 to 30 years, Mr Ross questioned why officers were leaving “in droves”.
Concern had been raised previously about the number of discontented staff working for the single force, with a survey in 2015 showing one in three wanted to leave within three years. The North East division which includes Moray had the second highest number of departures, with 286. Only the Greater Glasgow area had a higher number of departures
The MSP said: “Officers seem to be leaving Police Scotland in their droves. I have highlighted the number of experienced leaving the force in the Moray area before and these figures confirm my fears.
“At our local police scrutiny committee, I raised concerns that while the number of officers may be remaining the same, but the amount of experience these officers have is vastly reduced.
“This was also an issue I mentioned in my maiden speech in Parliament. While it is encouraging that new people are joining the force their experience as local officers in Moray is often enhanced by being guided and mentored by experienced officers. This vital element of a police officer’s development is being diminished as there are less officers with sufficient service to pass on their experience during the probationary period.
“We know that staff said they were discontented and a third were wanting to quit within three years – and this has been borne out in these figures. It’s very worrying that the division which includes Moray has one of the highest levels of departures, significantly more than Edinburgh for example which has more officers than the North East division.”
Mr Ross ventured that while there are a great deal of former officers who wished to take early retirement, the figures appeared to point to much deeper problems.
He added: “More than 3000 officers have left Police Scotland since its inception and thousands more say they are considering following them out the door.
“Every organisation needs a mix of new blood and experience, but Police Scotland has lost great swathes of experienced officers just as huge changes have been brought into policing.
“Moray is lucky to have officers who are dedicated to providing the best possible service to this area but it has not been immune to the loss of experience.
“We need to ensure that the single police force doesn’t lead to further reductions in the service provided locally or to the experience new officers get from the force.”