Scottish Conservatives call for armed forces veterans to be fast-tracked into Police Scotland

Written by Jenni Davidson on 13 April 2018 in News

Tory veterans spokesperson Maurice Corry suggested the move could help address shortages in police officers

Police Scotland - Image credit: Ninian Reid via Flickr

The Scottish Conservatives have called for people leaving the armed forces to be fast-tracked into the police in Scotland to help address shortages in officer numbers.

The Tory’s veterans spokesperson, Maurice Corry, called for a trial to be carried out in areas that have large military communities, such as around Faslane.

The proposal would involve veterans joining Police Scotland as special constables – part-time, voluntary officers – initially, with further opportunities for promotion after that.

The Scottish Conservatives revealed last month that the number of special constables in Scotland has more than halved from 1,387 to 610 since 2013.

Corry suggested his proposal would not only help increase policing numbers across the country, but also help people leaving the army, air force or navy to integrate back into more traditional workforce environments.

The Conservative MSP originally mooted the possibility as a councillor in Helensburgh, near the Faslane base, and said the idea had previously been warmly received by both veterans and police.

He will now prepare a formal proposal on how the plan can be taken forward.

Corry said: “This proposal would address two issues of huge importance.

“It would help boost the number of special constables, which has more than halved in the last five years.

“But it would also provide a vital transitional link for people leaving the armed forces and contemplating their next move in life.

“These people will be fit, active and value the idea of uniformity and being involved to help the public good, and that’s something we should make use of.

“They have families and friends in the area they’ve served, and want a reason to remain.

“By being involved in the police it would retain some of the familiarity of the life they’ve had over the past number of years, while also acting as a bridge to whatever career path they subsequently take.

“I believe a trial could be launched in any area where there’s a strong military veteran presence, from Helensburgh to Moray.

“The idea’s been warmly received in the past from both veterans and the police, and it’s something I now intend to pursue again.”

However, the Scottish Police Federation (SPF) has said the two roles are “fundamentally different”.

SPF general secretary Calum Steele told The Herald: “It is undoubtedly true that many former members of the armed forces have made a successful transition and remarkable contribution to policing over the years, and will no doubt continue to do so into the future.

“[But] policing and military roles are fundamentally different for very good reason.

“Whilst the SPF believes veterans should be offered every support to reintegrate into civilian life, it is dangerously simplistic to assume that life in armed forces somehow makes a person more suited to the police service than anyone else.”




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