A financial crisis in Police Scotland must be resolved to prevent damaging cuts to frontline policing, according to the Scottish Conservatives.
The Auditor General for Scotland has warned the current financial model “is not financially sustainable”.
In its annual report to the Scottish Parliament today, auditor general Stephen Boyle says the SNP government must work with Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) as “a matter of urgency”.
The report identifies an SPA budget overspend of £26.8million in 2019/20.
It adds: “Financial scenarios developed by Police Scotland indicate that the deficit will increase unless significant action is taken either to increase funding or to reduce the cost of its workforce.”
The report says the provision of new technology, including body-worn cameras for officers, is “heavily reliant on receiving additional funding”.
Scottish Conservative shadow justice spokesman Liam Kerr said: “This report confirms the financial black hole in Scotland's police service funding that we have been warning the SNP about for years.
"They need to sort it out urgently and provide the funding required for a robust, efficient and modern police service.
"The people of Scotland know our police give everything to keep them safe and we owe those brave officers the resources they need to provide that service.
“Any cuts to frontline services caused by SNP failure would be unacceptable. The SNP created the national force in a rush and failed to adequately plan.
"These funding issues have been known about for years. There can be no more excuses from the Nationalists."
The 2019/20 audit of the Scottish Police Authority can be found here:
In February 2020, Chief Constable Iain Livingstone warned of a potential crisis if “systemic underfunding continues” and that “current resource levels are unsustainable against the existing funding”: