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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)