No funding means no CAT teams for Midlothian

Chief Inspector Kenny Simpson, Local Area Commander for Midlothian

Chief Inspector Kenny Simpson, Local Area Commander for Midlothian

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Midlothian’s Chief Inspector has made it clear that the county will lose its dedicated extra officers when council funding is removed next year.

Last month, Midlothian Council voted to cut the Community Action Team (CAT) funding this year by 25 per cent and remove it all together in 2017.

“Midlothian will still have two Community Action Teams operating in 2016/17, reduced in size due to the funding cut.

But Chief Inspector Kenny Simpson dismissed any talk of Police Scotland funding the CAT officers (not to be confused with community beat officers). He said: “Posts which are no longer funded locally will be allocated to other functions where there is new or other demand that meets the overall policing strategy and will no longer be included in the budgeted establishment of the division concerned.

“This may reduce the capacity of the division to deliver the current service, but will not affect emergency response.

“We will continue to work with our partners and communities to ensure that Midlothian still receives an excellent policing service and remains a safe place to live, work and visit.”

Councillor Derek Rosie (SNP) defended the council’s decision to cut the CAT teams, stating his belief that Midlothian’s communities will be better served now due to the recent re-organisation of community beat officers.

He said: “They could keep the CAT teams going if that’s what they want. That’s their decision, how they delegate their staff, it’s not for the council.

“Money has been put in by the Scottish Government to increase the number of police on the ground. Midlothian Council paying for Midlothian officers means people are paying twice. These officers will still be there for police to put them where they think there are issues.

“Moving forward now I’m pleased that the police have gone back to the local community based police (not connected to CAT teams or council funding) which I see as a big advantage and I have found as a councillor in the past that it was a lot easier to work together and achieve results.

“There are benefits of them moving police back into the communities. Where we haven’t had that service for a bit of time.

“They know the area. They know local issues.

“And it meant we could all work together much easier.

“So I’m glad to see they are coming back to that.”