Luke Graham, MP for Ochil and South Perthshire, accompanied Inspector Chase on the evening shift to hear about issues facing the front line staff and see first-hand the challenges facing police officers across South Perthshire and Kinross-shire. Mr Graham’s shift started with meeting community officers in Crieff before going onto Comrie, Auchterarder and finally on to Perth.
Luke Graham also discussed the importance of the £35m VAT refund he helped secure in last Autumn’s Budget and how it should be passed on to the police directly to improve staffing and increase equipment provision.
A key concern raised was the resources available to support those with mental health difficulties in Perth & Kinross. It is clear a more joined up approach between the police and health & social care services is required in the future to help those in need and prevent further crimes.
Finally, Mr Graham attended an official briefing at the start of night shift in Perth, meeting with Sergeant Henderson who raised the daily and long-term issues facing the division in the counties and the Fair City itself.
Commenting after his shift, Luke Graham said:
“I would like to thank Inspector Chase and the team, for allowing me to join them during their shift.
It was an extremely insightful session, allowing me to see first-hand the challenges facing D-Division of Tayside Police. Although it was concerning to see the extra funds secured in the budget back in November have yet to work their way to the frontline in terms of officers, support staff and key equipment.
Officers in Perth & Kinross must cover an enormous geographical area; I will continue to work with MSP colleagues to ensure that any new funds secured are going to the front line to support our officers and keep our communities safe.
Support for those individuals suffering from poor mental health is another concern that is being raised time and time again – I will be picking up this issue and working with colleagues to develop solutions.”
Other issues discussed during the session included the lack of officers on the street, the shortage of vehicles, and the mental health issues faced in modern policing. They also discussed the impact of cuts upon staffing, with police officers having replaced many of the civilian staff. The officers are now responsible for the administrative work as well as policing.