Nicola Sturgeon faced harsh questioning by Jackson Carlaw following an officer accusing the Scottish Government of “underfunding” police Scotland. The SNP leader defended the criticism by blaming the Tory Government for cutting front line police numbers by 20,000. Speaking in Scottish Parliament, Mr Carlaw said: “The wider risk here is obvious and it has been spelled out bluntly this morning in Parliament by the Scottish police federation to the policing sub-committee.
“They said: ‘the police officers we represent are working harder than ever.
“They are under strain and it is taking its toll on their physical and mental health and their families.
“Their working conditions are not satisfactory.
“In some cases through no fault of our own, we are not providing a good service to the public.’
“First Minister, isn’t the choice clear?
“You increase police funding or you are putting the public at risk.”
Ms Sturgeon replied: “I lead a Government that has kept police numbers at 1,000 more than the level we inherited and we did that at a time when Jackson Carlaw’s party slashed front line police numbers by 20,000.
“That is the reality that every police officer across the UK is all to aware of but also making sure that our police officers get a decent pay rise which is more than can be said of his colleagues south of the border.”
Mr Carlaw recently hit out at Ms Sturgeon as he said the SNP had failed Scottish people and were trying to drag Scotland into a decade of crisis.
He also played down claims that Tory advisors in Scotland were beginning to back the idea of a second independence referendum.
Speaking on the BBC’s Scotland Politics this morning, the newly-elected leader said “the people of Scotland do not want the next decade to be about constitutional crisis and division”.
Mr Carlaw told the BBC: “Scotland doesn’t want another referendum.
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“Scotland wants a government which will actually deliver for them, instead of this incompetent and failing Scottish government.
“I say no to IndyRef2 so that we can say yes to so much more. We are totally opposed to a second independence referendum.
“But if people want to prevent it, then they have to vote for parties that opposite it and that will be absolutely critical next year.
“Those polls that show a shift in the support for independence are also absolutely clear that the people of Scotland do not want the next decade to be about more constitutional division and constitutional politics so we’re saying no on their behalf.”
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