Following the Scottish Government’s recent proposals to allocate the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) an additional in-year budget of £3.6 million to fund the recruitment of up to 140 permanent staff, the FDA has shared fears that this may be no more than “a flash in the pan”.
The FDA’s Procurator Fiscal Society (PFS) section has given both written and oral evidence to the Justice Committee during its pre-budget scrutiny of the Scottish Government’s draft budget.
FDA President Fiona Eadie, who spoke to the Committee on behalf of PFS in early October, said: “While we welcome the in-year budget increase, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance must ensure this comes as part of a sustained, long-term commitment to adequately resource the COPFS and isn’t simply a flash in the pan.”
She explained: “Years of budget restrictions mean that the £3.6 million increase still represents a real-terms cut of 23.3% compared to 2010 spending levels and bringing in additional prosecutors will not solve the problem overnight.
“We know that a significant number of our members have left the COPFS to move to the Scottish Government, where they will be earning up to £10,000 more than they did as Procurators Fiscal.”
Eadie added: “It can’t be right that those who deal with victims of child sexual abuse and the prosecution of some of the most violent offenders in Scotland are valued less than their Scottish Government counterparts.
“Any long-term strategy must address these discrepancies to ensure the COPFS can recruit and retain the dedicated staff needed to deliver justice for the people of Scotland."