The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, has told police officers they have ‘excelled themselves’ in the way they have kept people safe during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In an address to the Scottish Police Federation’s biennial virtual conference, MS Sturgeon said public trust remained high in Scottish officers and that they had policed by consent – all while having to think about the safety of their families during the virus outbreak.
She also thanked them for all they continue to do to combat violent crime, which, she said, is falling across the country, and she vowed to work with the force to tackle assaults against officers.
Other Scottish political leaders told online delegates that police officers should have been prioritised for a vaccination from Covid-19.
Alba party leader Alex Salmond, Anas Sarwar from Scottish Labour and Scottish Conservatives Leader Douglas Ross suggested officers should have been higher up the queue for the jab.
In the general vaccine rollout, officers across the UK weren’t given priority treatment despite the frontline and face to face with the public nature of their roles.
Kim Long from the Greens and LibDem Scottish leader Willie Rennie also addressed the online event.
Earlier Scotland’s top police officer Iain Livingstone told delegates that he ‘supports the roll out’ of Taser to all operational officers.
During his online interview with Federation Chair David Hamilton at the Federation’s annual conference, Chief Constable Livingstone said issuing the PPE kit to officers ‘was a priority’ but that the safety reasons behind its deployment mIght need to be better explained to the public.
CC Livingstone also used his virtual airtime at the conference to express the high regard he holds the Federation in and suggested that officers and members represented an institution that still has people’s trust in Scotland.
He also praised the Federation for the work it’s been doing in getting officers vaccinated against COVID-19 and said their concerns around the virus were at the ‘forefront’ of his mind.
The pressures faced by CID teams and the hours detectives work were also on the agenda, with CC Livingstone stating that inspectors are ‘probably working more hours than they should for the demands they face’.
Fed Chair David also quizzed Martyn Evans, Chair of The Scottish Police Authority. Mr Evans told the virtual conference that officers often ‘put their hand up’ as the lead agency in cases when others didn’t and that priorities, demand and data all have to be factored in when considering the number of officers needed in Scotland.
Earlier, The Federation’s General Secretary and EuroCOP President Calum Steele updated delegates about the ongoing pay negotiations for the next police pay period.
The Federation is seeking a 3.25% pay increase, but Purdah, ahead of the Scottish parliamentary elections on 6th May, had stalled talks, Calum explained.