Scottish Police forecast a fully eco-friendly fleet by 2030, delayed by budget cuts for the ‘cash-strapped’ force
Cash-strapped Police Scotland’s attempt to become the first UK force to switch to green police cars has been hit by the SNP-Green budget cuts, he revealed earlier.
The national force faces a shortfall of nearly £ 50million next year from expenses such as vehicles, technology and forensics after its ‘capital’ allocation was frozen.
Official documents cast doubt on its means of converting its entire fleet to ultra-low-emission vehicles by 2030, as planned.
The details have sparked claims the Scottish government ‘talks about a good environmental game’ but ‘fails to reflect reality’.
The deficits emerged in a Police Scotland document drafted ahead of the budget by Holyrood’s Finance Secretary Kate Forbes earlier this month.
It showed that £ 93.6million was needed in 2022-2023 for ‘capital’ spending, including £ 17.8million for vehicle fleet upgrades.
But Ms Forbes has only allocated £ 45.5million in total – exactly the same as this year, which means a reduction in real terms of £ 1.5million.
The Scottish Sun can reveal that the settlement – after years of lost earnings – was even less than a pessimistic £ 49.6million scenario crafted by top brass.
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For vehicle spending, the worst-case funding scenario predicted – actually better than what the force ultimately got – would leave a gap of £ 8.3million.
Describing what would happen if enough money was not available in the years to come, the Police Scotland document, written by CFO James Gray, said its fleet strategy to replace vehicles “would progress to a slow pace, reaching a maximum of 1,400 vehicles. vehicles (40%) have switched to ULEV, as the funding would be insufficient to progress in phases 2 and 3 of the deployment of the infrastructure ”.
Mr Gray added: “The investment in diesel vehicles would persist.”
The recap suggests there would be similar deficits of £ 32.4million for tech and gadgets and £ 3.7million for forensic services in the worst case scenario.
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The technology falls under the title ‘Digital Data and ICT’ – and includes body-worn videos for cops, a new IT backbone for police contact centers that handle public calls, laptops and replace computers and aging software.
Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary Jamie Greene said his calls for a major uprising for the Scottish police capital pilot were ignored as the force secured a settlement “worse than expected in the worst case”.
He said: “It’s not only ridiculous that they have to make do with leaky stations, rusty vehicles and outdated technology, they have now seen their modernization efforts undone by the austerity of the SNP.
‘The Scottish Police ambition to lead the way in low emission cars has been undermined by the SNP-Green coalition, which talks about a good environmental game but still fails to deliver in reality . “
Police Scotland’s separate ‘environmental strategy’ for 2021 explains how it aims to become ‘the UK’s first emergency service with a ULEV fleet by 2030’, and adds: We to continue reducing our use of fossil fuels and our overall carbon footprint.
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But the expenditure document says that in the event of a lack of capital funding – which has now occurred – “priority would be given to meeting health and safety needs, legislative requirements and replacing equipment. basic”.
The details emerged after years of anger over Scottish Police budget deficits and the collapse of buildings and vehicles.
Last year, Chief Constable Iain Livingstone called the Scottish Government’s capital funding “paltry”.
Earlier, a spokesperson for Police Scotland said: ‘Police need capital investments to generate improvements and efficiency gains to better enable officers and staff to serve the public.
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The detailed capital allocation will not allow the police to advance all of our plans and we will carefully prioritize available funds. “
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: ‘Despite cuts to the Scottish Government’s investment budget in the UK Government’s Spending Review, we have maintained the Police Investment Budget which for 2022-2023 is £ 45.5million.
“We have more than doubled the police investment budget since 2017-18, supporting continued investment in police assets including estate, vehicle fleet, specialized equipment and ICT to ensure that officers have the tools they need to do their jobs effectively. “
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