A FORMER police board chairman today called for talks before council chiefs go ahead with plans to slash funding for extra officers in the Capital.
Edinburgh City Council is believed to be the first Scottish local authority proposing to cut extra cash for dedicated community policing, following claims that officers have been redeployed elsewhere.
City leaders are no longer satisfied the £2.7 million a year it channels into policing is being used to the benefit of communities.
They claim there has been a reduction in patrols and attendance at community events in recent months, following the launch of the new single force, Police Scotland.
The council’s draft budget proposes a £2m reduction in police funding over the next four years.
Today, Tory councillor Iain Whyte, former chairman of Lothian and Borders police board and a member of the new Scottish Police Authority (SPA), said he hoped there would be talks between the council, Police Scotland and the SPA before the cut went ahead.
He said: “The city police teams have been very successful in the past. I know times financially are tight, but I would hope there could be more discussion on both sides before anything is decided.” Former Lord Provost Lesley Hinds said the council felt it had “no influence in how these officers are being deployed” since the launch of Police Scotland.
She said: “We noticed a massive difference in north Edinburgh in antisocial behaviour when this first launched in 2003, with police working with schools, schools working with housing officers, and all working on the same cases. But we have to ask, if that is no longer the case then should we pay for it?”
She was backed by Edinburgh South Labour MP Ian Murray, who said it was “reasonable” to assess whether the funding was being used in the best way.
Assistant chief constable Mike McCormick said: “Police Scotland is aware of the council’s proposed reduction in funding for policing in the Capital. We continue to work very closely with our council colleagues whilst monitoring the situation and are looking at ways to mitigate against any consequential impact on frontline police numbers.”