Estate overhaul should prevent £260 million maintenance bill
Police Scotland has dismissed claims it will have to pay out more than a quarter of a billion pounds to fix its estates over the next decade.
Police Scotland has dismissed claims it will have to pay out more than a quarter of a billion pounds to fix its estates over the next decade. Plans have been drawn up to make the forces buildings fit for purpose and reduce projected expenses, according to Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone. Mr Livingstone was responding to data released by the Scottish Liberal Democrats showing Police Scotland faces a £263 million maintenance bill over the next ten years. He claimed this figure represents the cost of maintaining the current estate, but this will be overhauled as part of the Policing 2026 strategy. The Scottish Police Federation has frequently raised concerns about the state of the forces properties. Mr Livingstone said: Police Scotland is now developing an estate investment programme to ensure we have buildings which are fit for purpose across the wide range of communities we serve. The actual amount Police Scotland will spend on estates over the next ten years will be calculated and refined as this investment programme is developed to ensure we continue to deliver a quality service to local communities. Releasing the figures, Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur blamed the huge bill on the Scottish governments botched centralisation of policing. He added that projected savings from the 2013 merger that created a centralised force have not been realised. Mr Livingstone recognised that much of Police Scotlands estate had not been maintained or upgraded to an adequate standard when it was inherited from the eight legacy forces. Police Scotland has already reviewed several buildings that could be closed down. The Scottish government has pledged to protect the police resource budget in each year of this Parliament. A spokesperson said: We have also increased the capital budget in real terms in 2017-18 and provided a further £61 million to support the delivery of Policing 2026, the ten-year strategy to ensure Police Scotland is equipped to tackle new and emerging threats. We will continue to press UK ministers over the glaring disparity on VAT which sees Police Scotland, unlike all other UK territorial police forces, unable to recover VAT. Police and fire services in Scotland have already paid more than £140 million in VAT since 2013 and we welcome support for a fair deal for Scotlands emergency services.