Edinburgh council faces big decision over cut to police funding – Steve Cardownie

Police have warned there will be consequences if Edinburgh council stops providing £2.1 million to the force, writes Steve Cardownie.

Wednesday, 8th January 2020, 11:40 am
The council contributes £2.1 million to Police Scotland. Picture: John Devlin

IT should come as no surprise to anyone who follows Edinburgh City Council’s budget process that the matter of allocating funding to Police Scotland for the provision of extra police numbers within the Capital has once more come under scrutiny.

The council’s £2.1 million contribution could well be cut entirely as more councillors question how much bang they get for their bucks. Previous administrations have wrestled with this problem, with the Labour group in particular advocating a withdrawal of funding and the SNP group resisting such calls.

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Councillor Gordon Munro, fresh from licking his wounds from the tanking he took from SNP’s Deidre Brock at the Westminster ballot box in Edinburgh North and Leith, has saddled his favourite hobby horse and is galloping into the fray. A consistent challenger to the city’s contribution to Police Scotland, he must feel that his chances of success have never looked so good and he will be anticipating victory.

However, the police have said on record that there will be consequences if the grant is cut and that policing will suffer, with services such as school link officers, family household support officers and community policing being particularly affected.

Of course, the decision is to be made in February when we will learn if the administration does cut this funding. Then we will see if the consequences flagged up by the police do indeed come about, or indeed if the Scottish Government will plug the gap.