POLICE Scotland have been ridiculed for spending taxpayers’ cash on re-branding their helicopter in Gaelic.
Nationalist MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh tweeted a photo of herself sitting in the helicopter which bears the name of Police Scotland in Gaelic.
The smiling SNP politician wrote: “Huge thanks to @PolScotPSYV & @policescotland for the opportunity to sit in a Poileas Alba helicopter!”
But the Gaelic rebranding has resulted in criticism of the force, which is already reeling from the a series of scandals culminating in the decision of Chief Constable Sir Stephen House to leave his post early. Sir Stephen will get a £500,000 pay-off and £100,000-a-year from his £2m pension pot.
Twitter user ChrystalTipps ?wrote: “Police Scotland’s in a mess, but never mind, we’ve got Gaelic signage on a helicopter, in Alloa.”
Dr Cromarty wrote: “At least the 1% of Scots criminals who speak Gaelic will be worried when the cops are after them.”
Referring to the tragic case of M9 crash victims Lamara Bell and John Yuill, , Ron Kane ?added: “What’s Gaelic for “My daughter & her boyfriend have been missing for 3 days? #SNP #priorities ”
And Disillusioned wrote: “500k payoffs, chopper rebranding, meanwhile 999 calls go unanswered. #shameful.”
Other commenters were quick to comment on Sheikh’s pose, with one writing: “”C’mon you 56….glamour selfie time..#couldnaemakeitup.”
Whilst Zhang Q.C cheekily added: “What d’ya think of big choppers , in general ?”
And referring to last week’s Gaelic gaffe, when the Isle of Bute was accidentally given a rude new name after an accent was left off a Gaelic word on its sign, “Maxie” wrote: “Do you fly to Penis Island?
Jonathan Isaby, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Money is tight and every penny has to go towards crucial frontline policing.
“Spending taxpayers’ money on a vanity project paint job is exactly the sort of waste we need to cut out.”
The force is still reeling from a series of scandals including the death of tragic mum Lamara Bell, who lay in a wrecked car for three days beside her dead boyfriend John Yuill after a 999 call was not followed up on.
Police Scotland have also been rocked by controversies over policy on the open carrying of firearms and stop-and-search.
And the force is also being investigated over the death of Fife man Sheku Bayoh, who died in police custody.
Ms Ahmed-Sheikh was elected as MP for Ochil and south Perthshire in May. She is currently the SNP’s Group Spokesperson on Trade & Investment and Deputy Shadow Leader of the House of Commons.
Ch Superintendent Elaine Ferguson, Operational Support Division, said: “The branding and wording applied to the aircraft was carried out on the instruction of Police Scotland, as part of the service contract.
“The cost of this work was included in the leasing agreement and as such incurred no extra cost. As the force helicopter can be tasked to incidents anywhere in the country, it features dual language branding.”