Date: 8 April 2008
UNISON welcomes rejection of police custody privatisation
UNISON, the largest union representing Scotland's police staffs
welcomed the response of the Scottish Government to recommendations
from HM Inspectorate of Constabulary that police custody services
could be privatised.
The union agrees with the statement by Justice Secretary Kenny
MacAskill who said "I have made it perfectly clear that this government
is completely opposed to privately-run custody facilities - public
safety must be put before private profit."
UNISON argues that there is little credible evidence that the privatisation
of public services is more cost effective. In addition it would
break up the team approach to custody services that have developed
over recent years, replacing it with the demarcation that is inherent
in a contractual relationship. Police forces would be surrendering
real control over a key police function.
UNISON's Scottish Organiser Dave Watson said: "Police forces in
Scotland have introduced civilian custody staff in recent years
to free up police officers from duties that do not require police
powers. That is the way ahead for custody services - not the dead
hand of privatisation".
Note for Editors: UNISON represents police civilian staff known
as Police Staffs as distinct from Police Officers. Police Staffs
currently make up around one third of the establishment of police
forces in Scotland. There are already some 250 Police Staffs working
in custody functions in Scotland.
For Further Information Please Contact: Dave Watson (Scottish
Organiser) 0870 7777 006 (w) 07958 122 409 (m) Peter Veldon (Regional
Organiser - Police Staffs) 0870 7777 006 (w) 07904 342285 (m)