Scotland politics

Police Scotland faces more civilian job cuts

Police Image copyright PA
Image caption Sir Stephen House gave evidence to MSPs, along with the new justice secretary, Michael Matheson

Scotland's top police officer has said force support staff face further job cuts next year.

Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Stephen House said he was confident of making a target to save £1.1bn by 2026.

But he warned the path ahead was "not smooth" and said every area, apart from police officer numbers, would be considered in the drive for savings.

About 2,000 civilian staff have been cut through voluntary redundancy and early retirement schemes since 2009.

Sir Stephen told the Scottish Parliament's justice committee that further cuts in that area were likely, but there was "no specific target" on numbers.

Amid plans to cut police control rooms, he added: "Inevitably, there will be more voluntary redundancies, early retirements in that area, because the staff know what our plans are going forward with control rooms," Sir Stephen said.

The chief constable added that plans to review custody centres could see further reductions in civilian staff, while the force was also looking into making savings in areas like human resources and IT.

"That might mean offering more redundancies to more civilian staff, so, yes, I anticipate there will be more reductions in civilian staff," he said.

Sir Stephen said Police Scotland was on course to balance its 2014-15 budget, with savings in the region of £60m, with a similar level of savings is also needed for 2015-16.

Also appearing before the committee, the new justice secretary Michael Matheson said the government was committed to maintaining police officer levels at 17,234.

He said: "We remain committed to the 1,000 extra officers from our 2007 commitment and I would expect both Police Scotland and the SPA to operate within that commitment."

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