Figures published by Police Scotland this week have highlighted that the number of police officers on the street in East Lothian has fallen.
Across the Lothians and Scottish Borders there are three fewer divisional police officers than there were last quarter. This makes up part of a bigger trend in East Lothian where the division has seen police numbers slashed to 919 from 2014.
Divisional police officers make up the ‘core’ contingent of local officers according to Police Scotland. They are responsible for community policing, roads and responding to emergency calls.
The East Lothian area command currently serves approximately 96,000 residents in the area. The East Lothian Area Command’s Local Police Plan 2017-2020 has highlighted that population growth in East Lothian is likely to present a challenge to resources and highlighted that “limited police resources will need to work more intelligently with partners”.
Michelle Ballantyne, MSP for South Scotland, raised her concerns that police numbers are falling during a time of population growth in East Lothian. She has called on the Scottish Government to evaluate staffing to reflect East Lothian’s growing population.
Michelle Ballantyne MSP commented:
“It’s disappointing to see that whilst our community is growing in East Lothian, the number of police officers we have has fallen.
“A local police presence is incredibly important to help prevent and detect crime, whilst continuing to reassure the public. It’s hard to maintain confidence that people will be kept safe when numbers continue to fall as they have.
“Sadly, this is part of the soft-touch approach to justice that has repeatedly been used by the Scottish Government.
“We need to see a fair allocation of resources to our police force to ensure that they can continue to keep our roads safe. I hope that the Scottish Government will reflect on this moving forward.”