Fewer than 1,000 body-worn cameras available to police, figures show

The cameras are aimed at helping to protect officers, as well as improving transparency.

Fewer than 1,000 body-worn cameras available to police in Scotland, figures show iStock

Police in Scotland have access to less than 1,000 body-worn video cameras, according to new figures.

It is despite calls from the service for up to 11,000 officers to have access to the equipment across the country.

Deputy chief constable Will Kerr has previously stated that Police Scotland was “professionally embarrassed” at the slow roll-out of the cameras.

They were described by Kerr as being a “very basic” bit of kit for officers.

A Freedom of Information request by the Scottish Conservatives has revealed that as of October this year, Police Scotland has just 941 body-worn video cameras.

The Scottish Government has said that it needs the UK Government so provide funding so it can support public services and the economy.

Jamie Greene, justice spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives, criticised the SNP over the lack of equipment available.

“This shameful failure to roll out the most basic bit of kit underlines the neglect our police face under the SNP government,” said Greene.

“We know that these cameras would help reduce the court backlog by increasing the number of guilty pleas as well as protecting officers and increasing transparency.

“But despite these clear benefits, the SNP have failed to invest in what the deputy chief constable has rightly described as basic equipment.”

Greene suggested that police are having to tackle crime with “one hand tied behind their back” in Scotland.

“The SNP have consistently failed our police,” said the Scottish Conservative MSP.

“First, they cut the capital budget, which these cameras fall under, and now they plan real-terms cuts to the resource budget too.

“And this is at a time when officer numbers are are their lowest level in 14 years.

“Now, Scotland faces a massive court backlog and rising violent crime, which our police are having to tackle with one hand tied behind their back.

“The Scottish Conservatives would restore our police with our Local Policing Act, giving officers the equipment they need to fight crime and keep Scotland safe.”

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government stated that funding for policing has been increased, despite UK Government austerity measures.

“While policing matters and budgetary prioritisation are always a matter for the chief constable, we remain fully committed to using the resources available to us to support the vital work of Police Scotland in delivering effective and responsive policing across Scotland,” they said.

“Whilst we do all we can, our largely fixed budgets and limited fiscal powers means we need the UK Government to provide the Scottish Government with the funding we need to support public services and the economy in these difficult times.

“Despite UK Government austerity, we have increased police funding year-on-year since 2016/2017 and have invested more than £10bn in policing since the creation of Police Scotland in 2013.”

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