JUSTICE Secretary Humza Yousaf has said he is “very satisfied” with support offered to police officers struggling with mental illness.

He conceded he was “concerned” by figures uncovered by the Scottish LibDems which revealed there had been an 11% rise in sick days taken by officers due to mental ill health over the last two years.

But Yousaf said that since its creation as a national force in 2013, Police Scotland has been “excellent” at making sure support is available for officers and staff who need it.

He said: “The job of a police officer can be challenging, challenging for your mental health as well as your physical health. The police have been excellent since the creation of the single police force in making sure they provide very upfront support for people.”

Yousaf said the figures, raised by Scottish LibDem leader Willie Rennie at First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, give him “cause for concern”, but added: “I’m very satisfied the support structures are in place for those officers for their mental wellbeing to be addressed.”

Police Scotland Deputy Chief Constable Fiona Taylor said on Thursday that the force has a range of support mechanisms in place.”