Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron has raised concerns over the reduced number
of special constables employed by Police Scotland.
A recent Freedom of Information request by the Scottish Conservatives showed a a
fall of more than a third - from 1228 in 2013 to just 810 in 2016.
In the Highlands and Islands N Division, the number has dropped from 120 in 2013
to 99 in 2016, a reduction of almost 18%.
Special Constables are volunteers who wear the same uniform as regular police officers
and have the same powers and responsibilities. They can be called upon to assist
in all areas of police work including patrols, community engagement, specialist operations
attending incidents and royal visits.
Donald Cameron said: “I am very worried about
this news given the planned cuts in regular police officer numbers and the overall
strain on policing in Scotland.
“Special constables play an incredibly important role in local communities across
the Highlands and Islands and support regular police officers in their duties.
Police Scotland need to address why so many special constables are leaving the force
and also why they are struggling to recruit new officers in their place.”
Concern over plummeting numbers of special constables