More than 500 police officers are being redeployed on to the front line as coronavirus infections continue to strain Scotland’s emergency services.
Police Scotland said from Monday, more than 300 specialist officers will be temporarily sent into local policing divisions, alongside 258 probationary constables.
Assistant Chief Constable Alan Speirs said the force is “working hard to maximise the availability of officers and staff in frontline duties to ensure that we continue to provide a highly effective policing service”.
He added: “Omicron is having a significant effect on the country and Police Scotland is included in that.
“As a national service we can quickly flex resources and move people to where they are needed and respond to increased demand and high absence levels.
“By deploying these extra resources we can support local policing and keep people safe at this critical time.”
Some 1,701 members of Police Scotland’s staff were absent in the week December 23-29, the latest data available, but absences remain significantly below the peak in April 2020.
Police Scotland said the use of probationers and specialist officers had been successful both earlier in the pandemic and during the Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow.
Last month it emerged 140 probationers were sent to the city, some with as little as three weeks’ training.
On Thursday, Scotland passed the grim milestone of more than one million confirmed coronavirus cases.