Tory concerns on police force debts

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill talking with officers from Lothian and Borders Police

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill talking with officers from Lothian and Borders Police

First published in National News © by

Concerns have been raised about the size of debt the new national Scottish police force will have to take on.

Tories accused the Scottish Government of failing to keep tabs on debts totalling more than £100 million, according to most recent figures from 2010-11.

Regional forces will merge into a single body from April next year.

The figures released by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill showed that repayments were just under £6 million.

Tory MSP John Lamont, who requested the figures, said: "Beginning life lumbered with debts of more than £100 million is far from an ideal situation.

"The Scottish Government has had years to sort this out, but because of its negligence on this matter, Scotland's police force will have to shell out millions every year simply servicing this deficit. These figures are alarming and clearly the SNP failed to keep tabs on this.

"People will look at the £6 million being spent servicing this debt and wonder just how much safer their streets would be if that were not the case."

In response to the Tories' claim, a Scottish Government spokesman said: "This 'old' debt was incurred by local authorities on behalf of police forces.

"The new Police Service of Scotland will not lose out, the Scottish Government is providing the funds to service the debt."

The figures do not include Dumfries and Galloway or Fife constabularies, meaning the figure will be higher than stated in the 2010-11 statistics.

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