UNISONScotland www
This is our archive website that is no longer being updated.
For the new website please go to
Click here
Home News About us Join Us Contacts Help Resources Learning Links UNISON UK




Sponsorship Comms Index Communications Forum Campaigns News Scotland inUNISON Press Releases


Communications Index | Press releases | Scotland inUNISON | Campaigns


Date: Wednesday 16 April 2008

Staff should be given wider role to properly resource police service - UNISON

UNISONScotland, the union that represents police staffs, today called on the Scottish Government to maximise their use in a wider range of jobs to allow more police officers to return to operational duties.

In a briefing circulated to MSPs prior to today's debate on a Justice Committee Report, the union claimed the issue had only been given limited consideration in the report.

Dave Watson, UNISON's Scottish Organiser (Policy) said: "Police staffs play a crucial role in the operations of the Scottish police forces, with a wide range of jobs from caretaking to custody officers, and from finance to forensics. These roles and the numbers have grown in recent years, partly reflecting the increased specialisation of police functions and partly to free police officers from duties that do not require full police powers."

UNISON also argues for further consideration to be given to the role of community support officers or their equivalent, pointing to England where they make up 6% of the total workforce.

Dave Watson said: "The use of community wardens in Scottish local government has given a valuable insight into the positive role these and similar staff can play in improving community safety, to complement not substitute for police officers."

UNISON also says that forces should be using staff with particular skills, more. Dave Watson said: "Police staffs are not a cheap option or substitute for police officers. Properly qualified specialists are often the most effective way to deliver complex functions whether this is in IT or Forensics, allowing the release of more police officers for front line duties."

Overall police staffs, as a proportion of the total workforce in Scottish police forces, range from 28% in Strathclyde to 36% in Grampian, with the national average being 31%. This is not as high as the proportion elsewhere in the UK, and UNISON Scotland believes that there is scope for further civilianisation within Scottish police forces. For example, call handlers and dispatchers in Dumfries and Galloway are 100% police staffs compared with no police staff dispatchers in Central Scotland.


Note for editors: The UNISON briefing is available from Chris Bartter (below)

For Further Information Please Contact: Dave Watson (Scottish Organiser) 07958 122 409(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 07715 583 729(m)