The largest intake of probationary constables ever to join Police Scotland has been thanked for their commitment to public service as they took the oath of office this morning.

Chief Constable Iain Livingstone welcomed the cohort of 348 recruits into the Police Service of Scotland and told them they had joined at a time of “national significance”.

The Chief Constable said: “This is a moment of national significance and policing has a crucial role in protecting the people of Scotland.

“I recognise that by coming here together for your training, there is a potential risk. We are asking you to put yourself in a position that we do not ask of other citizens. 

“Putting yourself in harm’s way to protect others goes to the very heart of what it means to be a police officer.

“Your colleagues are on the streets, right now, demonstrating that commitment for the good of their fellow citizens. 

“You are joining that shared mission and I thank all police officers and staff who are contributing to the national effort to protect people from the spread of coronavirus.

The Chief Constable added: “The response to coronavirus may continue for some time and we must maintain and support the frontline.

“That is why we pressed on with our plan to recruit you and why we are looking at how we can make you, as police officers, available to that visible response, with appropriate supervision, at an earlier stage of your training than would normally be the case.

“I wish to assure you that we are doing all we can to support our people on the frontline, including redirecting resources and providing the equipment you need.

“The service has received and distributed masks, goggles, disposable suits, boot covers and gloves and more is on its way, as well as thousands of bottles of hand sanitiser for those who can’t readily access hand washing facilities.

“There is a demand, across all essential services, for personal protective equipment and we will continue to work to secure and supply it to our people.”

A further 22 special constables also took the oath of office and the Chief Constable said policing’s link with our communities has never been more critical.

The Chief Constable said: “We gain our authority and legitimacy through the consent of our fellow citizens and I thank the overwhelming majority of people, from all walks of life, who are complying with very clear guidance to stay at home.

“We know this is a challenging time for people who have to adjust their daily habits and we know the police service will be required to take on additional responsibilities. Everything we do will be done in a fair, reasonable and proportionate manner.

“Those who persistently and blatantly defy the law, however, must know we will enforce the law.”

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