A “sustained reduction” in crime during the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a nearly £200,000 cut in police overtime across the north-east.
Police Scotland confirmed that from March to October 2020 police officers clocked up nearly 13,000 additional hours, around 6,500 less than the same period the previous year.
New figures show that between March and October 2019 police officers accumulated 18,556 hours of overtime – which equates to almost £500,000.
But during the same period this year overtime hours only totalled 12,996 hours – resulting in a cut of £196,000.
The introduction of the Covid-19 lockdown saw the biggest decrease in 2020 compared to the previous year, with officers clocking in 602 hours of overtime in April in contrast to more than 2,000 hours in April 2019.
However, as restriction started to be lifted in May police overtime hours shot up before reducing again from June to October.
Police Scotland’s assistant chief constable for the north, John Hawkins, said the reduction was the result of a continued decrease of “certain crime types” and due to the force working in partnership with community groups, local councils and affected organisations.
He added: “There has been a sustained reduction in many crime types in the north-east due to Police Scotland’s focus on prevention, protection and partnership working, while at the same time public confidence in policing has increased over recent months.
“There has been no significant change to the staffing profile for the area linked solely to overtime and there are no planned changes.
“The pandemic has clearly placed different demands on policing and wider partnership services, however, we remain well placed to continue to deliver the high level of service the public would expect.”