Date Thurs 10 May 2012
UNISON calls for a balanced, modern police team ahead of parliamentary
debate on national forces
A balanced, modern police team must be the focus for the future
of Scottish policing. That was the message from UNISON, the police
staff union, speaking ahead of today’s stage one debate on
the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Bill at the Scottish Parliament.
The union has been highly critical of the Scottish Government’s plans
to maintain an artificial target of police officers, a move the
union says will result in the loss of thousands of civilian roles.
George McIrvine, chair of UNISON’s police committee, said
the loss of these roles will lead to fewer police on our streets
as officers are taken off the streets to perform the tasks of
He said: “We deserve an efficient and effective police
force, with the right people doing the right jobs.
“To date, 1,000 police staff have already been cut and
we’re seeing more and more police officers being taken off
the streets to carry out these roles – roles they are untrained
to do and at a greater cost to the taxpayer. The Scottish Government’s
plans to maintain an artificial target of police officers will
see between two and three thousand civilian jobs being cut - it’s
a crazy strategy and it makes no economic or operational sense.
“We want to see a balanced, modern police team, with the
right skills and expertise for an effective police force. We need
the skills of police staffs to enable police officers to do the
job the public wants them to do, where they want them to do it
– that is fighting crime, out on the streets.”
Gerry Crawley, UNISON’s Regional Organiser, said: “On
top of these cuts, the new national forces could see the police
lose their VAT exemption which will cost Scottish taxpayers at
“If the new national forces were organised on the basis
of local authorities, not only would this strengthen local democratic
accountability, but it would retain s33 status and maintain the
exemption to the taxpayer."
Notes to editors
1. UNISON is Scotland’s largest trade union representing
over 162,000 members working in the public sector in Scotland
and represents police staffs in Scotland. Police staffs include
properly qualified civilian personnel delivering a wide range
of routine, complex and specialised functions that are central
to modern day police forces, while allowing uniformed officers
to concentrate on their operational policing duties.
2. Other documents giving analysis of the Police reform process
and UNISON’s campaign for a balanced, modern police force
– rather than cutting thousands of police staff jobs –
are available on our website:
· UNISON’s evidence to Justice Committee
· UNISON’s evidence to Local Government Committee
· UNISON’s evidence to Finance Committee http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/response/Police&FireReform_SPFinanceCtteEvidence_Feb2012.pdf
· UNISON’s document ‘Future of Policing in
Scotland – Response to Scottish Government consultation’
published in May 2011.http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/response/Response_%20FutureofPolicinginScotland_May2011.pdf
For more information contact:
· Gerry Crawley, UNISON’s Scottish Organiser, on
07958 121 805
· Dave Watson, UNISON’s Scottish Organiser, on 07958
· Trisha Hamilton, UNISON’s Communications Officer,
on 0141 342 2877 or 07939 478 461.