The claim followed spending regulators suggesting that a 'cumulative deficit' of £200m is a 'conservative' estimate. Only last month Auditor General, Caroline Gardner, estimated the shortfall to be £188m.
Alex Neil believes the chief constable, Phil Gormley QPM, and the chief executive of the SPA should be brought to Parliament to explain the situation.
Alex Neil said:
"This is a totally unacceptable performance. There's a general lack of confidence in policing in Scotland at the moment.Labour’s justice spokesman Claire Baker MSP said:
"We know that morale is rock bottom amongst the police force, I know that the chief constable believes he's £60m short of the money that he actually needs to do the job he's been asked to do, so we have to give them their say to see if this is all part and parcel of the same problem.
"But it strikes me that this is an organisation in crisis, in terms of the management of their finances."
"These remarkable comments from Alex Neil show the SNP Government can no longer bury their heads in the sand over the huge financial problems facing police in Scotland."Caroline Gardner told MSPs:
"The lack of progress that's been made in demonstrating financial leadership is unacceptable for any public body, but particularly for one of the scale and importance of policing in Scotland."Ms Garner continued that there was:
"scope for more transparency" in how the £1.1bn policing budget is spent. To illustrate the scale of the future financial challenge, I've updated my projections of the potential funding gap facing the SPA and Police Scotland. These suggest a cumulative deficit of almost £200m in real terms by the end of this parliamentary session. I consider this projection to be conservative."