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22 June 2003

Scottish police staff feel undervalued and stressed

Police staff across Scotland feel undervalued and stressed says the first national survey of police staff released by UNISON recently.

UNISON, who represents more than 4,000 police staff in Scotland, wants the Scottish Executive, the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS) and police employers to improve the status, training, management and terms and conditions of the police staff who make up a third of the police workforce.

In Scotland especially, police staff are lower paid than in the UK as a whole, and are more likely to have suffered verbal abuse themselves or to have seen a colleague suffer it. They have less access to training opportunities, and are likely not to have access to flexible working arrangements.

Joe Di Paola Scottish Organiser for Police Staff said "The most worrying statistic is that half of our members do not feel valued by their force. The other is the level of abuse that they have to suffer. 'We need a new initiative to cut out this abuse. It should not be part of people's working lives."

Raymond Brown, Secretary of UNISON's Strathclyde Police and Fire Branch, backs up the survey results. "I know members who have left the force for the very reasons found in the survey. It is important that this work has been done but we now need to make our employers aware of the results and address the problems."

UNISON is supportive of government aims to increase police presence on Scotland's streets and to switch background tasks to support staff. But Joe Di Paola says the increased responsibilities need increased resources. "Police staff are open to change and increased responsibilities, and the employers need to ensure that they get the training, support, professional status and salary to enable them to tackle these increased duties. Increased civilianisation needs proper resources if it is to succeed.

"These resources must be delivered up front, not on account. Police staff in Scotland want greater flexibility, professional development and training, higher grades and proper support."

The UK-wide survey - by independent pollsters NOP - found: 50% of staff do not feel valued by their police service Female police staff lose out unfairly in pay and training opportunities (although in Scotland all police staff have less access to training than elsewhere in the UK.)

76% of members say workloads have increased 66% say stress levels have grown In Scotland More staff are likely to be low paid (21% earn between £150 & £200 per week cf. 15% UK-wide)

Staff were also more likely to suffer verbal abuse or to have seen a colleague suffer it (46% cf. 41%).

Police staff have a wide variety of roles including: - Admin & Clerical, enquiries, control rooms and station posts, forensic and scientific units, scenes of crime staff, crime and incident management, fingerprinting, training, vehicle workshops and traffic wardens and parking attendants.


Note for Editors: Equal before the Law, attitudes and aspirations of UNISON's police staff members, is a UK-wide survey commissioned by UNISON from NOP, the respected national research and polling organisation. 3,000 members (nearly 50%) responded. Copies of sections of the report are available from Chris Bartter. The full report is available from the Communications Unit, UNISON, I Mabledon Place, London WC1H 9AJ. Tel 0845 355 0845.

For Further Information Please Contact: Joe Di Paola (Scottish Organiser - Local Govt) - 0845 355 0845(o) 07990 505 698(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) 0771 558 3729(m) Raymond Brown (S'clyde Pol/Fire Br Sec) 07050 200504 (m)