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 Scottish Executive Justice Department

Stephen Lawrence – An Action Plan for Scotland

UNISON Scotland Response

General Comment
The wider implications of McPherson; Steering Group
Specific Comments on the Action Plan
Openness, Accountability and Restoration of Confidence; Training: Complaints: Stop & Search: Recruitment & Retention

UNISON Scotland welcomes the opportunity to comment on the proposed Action Plan for Scotland.

UNISON Scotland is the country's largest union with 150,000 members employed in Scotland's public services. We are the major union organising both police civilian staff in Scotland and staff employed within the local government part of the criminal justice system.

UNISON Scotland also has a significant black members' organisation with an active Scottish black members committee and conference.

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General Comments

The wider implications of McPherson

UNISON Scotland notes that the Action Plan mainly deals with the implications of the Macpherson report for the Police Service.
While this is vitally important the report also has major implications for the public services in Scotland, for which the Scottish Executive has responsibility. UNISON Scotland has members in the NHS, local government, further and higher education institutions, housing service, etc, and in each of these sectors racism and institutional racism have a direct and indirect impact. Often, black workers are the lowest paid and least valued with promotion and career advancement blocked.

We would welcome an indication of the action the Scottish Executive is planning to tackle racism and institutional racism throughout Scotland's public services.

Steering Group

UNISON Scotland welcomes the setting up of a Steering Group to monitor the implementation of the Macpherson recommendations. We believe there is a gap, however, in the composition of the group and would argue for the inclusion of black workers either through the STUC or through UNISON.

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Specific Comments on the Action Plan

Openness, Accountability and Restoration of Confidence

UNISON Scotland believes there is a case for Scottish Ministers setting broad priorities and performance targets for the Scottish Police Service. We welcome the commitment by Scottish Ministers to mainstream equal opportunities through public sector bodies generally and would seek further information on the timeframe the Scottish Executive is working towards in terms of consultation and implementation.

7. UNISON Scotland believes the Scottish Executive must take whatever steps are required to ensure Police Authorities reflect ethnic or cultural mix. We believe that proportionality in terms of representation would assist confidence building among ethnic communities with their police services.


54. UNISON Scotland particularly welcomes the Scottish Executive's acceptance of this point. We believe, however, there is a need for training in racial awareness and valuing cultural diversity throughout the public services not just in those associated within the criminal justice system. Early action is required to put this in place.


58. UNISON believes that serious complaints against police officers should be independently investigated and supports the setting up of an independent Scottish Police Complaints Authority. This is essential to retain public confidence in the police service.

Stop and Search

61. UNISON Scotland disagrees with the Scottish Executive's proposed course of action. We believe that Police Services should ensure that there is a record made of all ‘stops' and ‘stop and searches'. The resulting collated information is the best means of determining whether there is a problem in this area.

Recruitment and Retention

64. UNISON Scotland believes that Police Forces should be set meaningful targets for the recruitment, progression and retention of minority police officers and police civilians. This kind of information should be collected periodically by the Scottish Executive and made public. Positive action should be taken by Police Forces to meet their targets.

UNISON Scottish Secretary

October 1999

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