Nicola Sturgeon has lost her police protection detail five months after stepping down as First Minister, it has been reported.  

The £600,000-a-year security had been kept in place despite her leaving the job in March amid concerns about threats Ms Sturgeon had received in the past.  

But The Scottish Sun reports that the 24-hour protection has now been withdrawn, saying Police Scotland could no longer justify the cost.  

The newspaper reports that a source said there had been “pushback”, though not from Ms Sturgeon, within police ranks. 

The security detail was comprised of six officers on rotation, plus vehicles. 

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The ex-First Minister’s close protection cover was extended after she left office at the end of March amid fears she needed the security, sources claimed. 

But after debate behind the scenes on the appropriate level of cover and justifiable costs to the public, it was said Police Scotland and the Scottish Government are pulling the plug. 

The Herald:

Former Chief Constable Sir Iain Livingstone, who retired this month, and the Scottish Government’s top official, Permanent Secretary John-Paul Marks, signed off the changes. 

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Scottish Tory MSP and Shadow Justice Secretary Russell Findlay welcomed the news, saying: “With the SNP cutting Police Scotland’s budget by hundreds of millions of pounds, the force has to make some incredibly tough spending decisions to keep the people of Scotland safe. 

“However, the decision to axe Nicola Sturgeon’s £600,000-a-year protection will have been taken following rigorous and scrupulous assessment of all potential risk. 

"For a politician under 24/7 police protection to have been arrested by other Police Scotland detectives must surely have been a first.” 

Ms Sturgeon stepped down as First Minister on March 28, the week before husband 

Peter Murrell was arrested and their home raided as part of the probe into donations to the SNP for a second independence referendum bid. 

The Herald:

Police during the raid on Sturgeon's home 

SNP officials said Ms Sturgeon and the party did not fight the decision — and that she will be glad to return to normality. 

Last week, her successor Humza Yousaf told an Edinburgh Fringe audience Ms Sturgeon had become sick of being under police watch. 

He said she once told him: “You’ve got no idea what it’s like. I can’t even go for a coffee with a friend without police officers at the table next to me.” 

One insider said: “While it didn’t come directly from Sturgeon, there was pushback against the decision — a bit of a row behind the scenes.” 

Another said there had been debate over the change, while a third said it was “unusual” for ex-ministers to keep cover for as long as Ms Sturgeon had. 

Former First Ministers Alex Salmond and Jack McConnell didn’t have police security after leaving office, it is said. 

However, Ms Sturgeon has received multiple threats over the years, several ending in criminal proceedings. 

Police Scotland, the Scottish Government, the SNP and Ms Sturgeon all declined to comment yesterday.