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Date: Wed 26 September 2012

UNISON calls for action to avert 3,000 police staff job cuts

UNISON Scotland has called for action by the Scottish Government to avert the disastrous loss of 3,000 police staff support jobs, of which new Chief Constable Stephen House warned today.

George McIrvine, Chair of UNISON Scotland’s Police Committee, said:
“We have been saying that up to 3,000 vital police support staff jobs are under threat for about a year now. If Stephen House is right in what he has said today, this is just the beginning of a disaster for Scottish policing.”

 “Already we have seen police officers being taken off the street to cover for the thousand police support staff jobs which have been lost in the last year or so. We need the government to take action to end this unfolding disaster by committing to a balanced police service rather than an arbitrary target for police officer numbers.”

Gerry Crawley, UNISON’s lead officer for police in Scotland, said:
“It gives us no pleasure to find that the newly-appointed Chief Constable of the new Police Service of Scotland can do the same sums as we can.

“The problem is the Scottish Government’s arbitrary target to maintain police officer numbers at 17,234. This combined with their failure to fund a balanced police service means that massive cuts will fall on police support staff - whose skills and qualifications are vital to effective policing across Scotland.

“We need a balanced workforce where the skills of police staffs 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. Using officers as expensive replacements for police staff might meet the Scottish Government’s political target - but not the needs of Scotland’s communities.”


Notes to editors

1. As the Scottish Government has an arbitrary target to maintain police officer numbers at 17234, the focus of the savings are concentrated on police staffs. This has resulted in over 1000 police staff posts being lost already. As a consequence, police officers are taking on the work of police staffs.

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.

For more information see UNISON’s police pages http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/police/index.html 

For more information contact:
George McIrvine, chair of UNISON’s Police Committee, on 07842 542677
Gerry Crawley, UNISON Scotland Regional Organiser, on 07958 12180