Police Scotland are set to open a voluntary redundancy scheme in the new year in a cost-cutting effort as the squeeze on finances continues.

The force has already warned that 3,000 jobs are at risk without further investment from the Scottish Government, while Shona Robison admitted the country's public sector workforce will have to "shrink".

The voluntary redundancy scheme applies to staff with at least two years' continuous from January 8 to February 9, after it was agreed at the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) board last week.

An internal memo said: "In the coming weeks and prior to Christmas we will launch a dedicated VR/VER intranet mini-site which will provide detail in relation to the scheme terms, eligibility, application process and an initial suite of FAQs.

"Similarly, a toolkit will be shared with those who line-manage police staff so that they can effectively support staff in their teams who are interested."

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: "These pressures have led to a reduction in police officer numbers to around 16,600 and we are building a service model which reflects that level.

"At the same time, we are reducing police staff numbers proportionately to the reduction in officer numbers and returning overtime costs to normal levels.

"Our commitment to no compulsory redundancies remains in place."

Tories hit out at Scottish Government

Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary Russell Findlay has hit out at the Scottish Government's "brutal underfunding" of the force, however the SNP has laid the blame firmly with Downing Street, claiming the UK Government's autumn budget was "worst case scenario" for Scotland.

The Tory MSP said: "Sadly, this is the inevitable consequence of SNP ministers ignoring Police Scotland's repeated warnings about the impact of their funding cuts.

"Police numbers are around their lowest level for 15 years and, predictably, crime rates are rising.

"The SNP must reverse their brutal underfunding of Police Scotland and provide the resources needed to keep our streets safe."

In response, a Scottish Government spokesperson said: "The deputy first minister said that the UK government's autumn statement delivered the 'worst case scenario' for Scotland's finances."

"Ministers are assessing the full implications of that statement as they develop a budget that meets the needs of the people of Scotland, in line with our missions of equality, community and opportunity."

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