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Police Scotland welcomes more than 300 new probationary constables

Police Scotland welcomed more than 300 new recruits with an oath of office ceremony on Wednesday (Robert Perry/PA)
Police Scotland welcomed more than 300 new recruits with an oath of office ceremony on Wednesday (Robert Perry/PA)

Scotland’s chief constable has welcomed more than 300 new probationary constables into the country’s police force.

The new recruits took their oath of office during a ceremony at Police Scotland’s headquarters at Tulliallan on Wednesday.

They join the service as it looks to increase its recruitment levels by encouraging more people to apply.

Police Scotland has experienced lower officer numbers due to training delays during the coronavirus pandemic and last year’s Cop26 climate change summit, as well as increased retirals following changes to pension arrangements.

Sir Iain Livingstone
Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Iain Livingstone was in attendance for the ceremony (Robert Perry/PA)

Chief Constable Sir Iain Livingstone thanked the new officers for taking on “the responsibilities and duties of a police officer” and for joining “our shared mission to safeguard our fellow citizens”.

Sir Iain told the PA news agency: “I want to encourage everybody to consider a career in policing.

“Anybody can be a police officer. If you’re committed, if you want to help people, if you want to come and assist people at their time of need, join the police service.

“It is deeply, deeply rewarding, and I want to make sure that people are considering policing when they’re looking at their lives and they’re looking at their life choices.”

The chief constable said new recruits will be “well-rewarded” with “many opportunities” despite an ongoing pay dispute with the Scottish Police Federation.

Asked if the dispute could impact recruitment efforts, Sir Iain said it was inevitable that police officers would be seeking a “legitimate and fair pay rise” and that he continues to back the call for higher pay.

“There’s a cost of living crisis at the moment, inflation is at levels we’ve never seen before,” he said.

“Inevitably, police officers and police staff are looking for a legitimate and fair pay rise.

“I’m lobbying very, very hard for them to get that fair pay rise, but I would say to everybody to come and join the police service. You will be well rewarded, you will be looked after within the police service, and there are many opportunities once you join policing.”

Justice Secretary Keith Brown said the oath of office ceremony was a celebration of “the diversity of those that are coming forward” to join the service.

Mr Brown told PA: “We had people from different ethnic backgrounds, we had many female officers coming forward, and one officer who is 57 years old, which is quite remarkable.

“To hear during the taking of the oath of office, the references to fundamental human rights, to equality and diversity, which has been a change in the oath of office taken by police constables, I think was very inspiring.”