Tuesday 5 May 2015
UNISON Scotland condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the Scottish Government putting out a press release celebrating that they have maintained 17,234 police officers, just hours before the General Election 2015.
UNISON members who work hard to keep our communities safe take a completely different view to this arbitrary statistic being re-released today.
Gerry Crawley, UNISON regional organiser said, ‘Scottish Government Justice Secretary Michael Matheson, fails to mention the fact they are making £1.1bn cuts to the police force in Scotland by 2020 and that 1300 police civilian staff have lost their jobs in recent months. Meaning more and more police officer are being taken off the streets and are working in the back office covering for our members who have lost their jobs. And police staff do vital jobs to fight crime like finger print officers, intelligence analysts, forensics, scenes of crime officers, photographers, emergency control room staff, mechanics, custody officers, finance controllers and many others. These jobs are being cut.’
Gerry continued ‘The 17,234 police officer target is a political statistic from 2007. It is not based on any strategic analysis of the skills we need to build a modern effective force to fight crime. Scottish Government, Justice Secretary Michael Matheson, and the Scottish Police Authority should have issued a press release to say they are reversing their policy to direct all the £ 1.1bn cuts at skilled police staff as it’s taking the Scottish police service back to the 1970s.’
Notes to Editor
· Scottish government press release is here: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Police-target-maintained-189f.aspx
· UNISON represents police staff in Scotland who has been subject to significant cuts. Local police stations, local 999 emergency control rooms, local community police desks and other parts of community police services have been closed.
· Police Officer numbers in England and Wales have been falling but interestingly so has crime.
· Scottish Government ministers demand that Police Scotland make £1.1bn cuts by 2020. As police officers are protected (17234 police officers, target set in 2007), it is the police staff who are wholly subject to these £1.1bn cuts. 1300 police staff have lost their jobs so far, undermining all the work done to build a modern police force. It also means that police are stuck in offices doing the work previously done by skilled civilian staff that police officers are not trained to do, or are overpaid to do. This is not best value for money or strategically effective in keeping communities safe.
· 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 UNISON’s police pages (http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/police/index.html)