UNISON Scotland the union that supports civilian police staff has warned that the loss of 3000 civilian posts across Scotland under the new single Police Service could be disastrous.
The union has called for action by the Scottish Government to avert the disastrous loss of 3,000 staff support jobs, after new Chief Constable Stephen House warned of the cuts in the new service.
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 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 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.
By removing up to 3000 civilian roles, Police Officers will be forced to cover the work previously carried out by the civilian staff and spending less time on front line services.