Thu 3 September 2015
UNISON welcomes the findings of the HMICS Independent Assurance Review Police Scotland - Call Handling Interim Report.
UNISON has fully engaged in this review and has encouraged police staff to participate as fully as they can. The review found that staff at all levels in the division are ‘strongly committed in often challenging circumstances to providing a good service to the public’. It states that they are ‘committed to doing a good job and demonstrating considerable flexibility in their working practices whilst endeavouring to meet call demand’.
UNISON welcome the strong recommendation that Police Scotland should 'consolidate and stabilise their staffing, systems, procedures and processes prior' to the final reforms of control centres taking place. This makes common sense and we hope Police Scotland, The Scottish Police Authority and The Cabinet Secretary for Justice will adopt.
We also welcome the recommendation that should it be necessary to retain specific staff beyond 31 March 2016 any voluntary redundancy / early retirement offers should be honoured.
UNISON repeatedly voiced our concerns about the speed of reform of police control rooms and service centres. Staff who work in this environment fear that the specific deadlines / timescales of the reforms being pushed through would be detrimental to the service they can provide to the public. At very least these reforms cannot continue without taking on the valid concerns of the staff
The proposed efficiency savings of £1.1 billion by 2026 are unachievable, the creation of Police Scotland and how it is structured will not provide 'best value' and the outdated manifesto pledge of maintaining 1000 extra police officers must be reviewed as it is damaging Scottish policing.
George McIrvine, UNISON police branch secretary said, ‘after 3 years of continued savage cuts to Scottish policing, we have a real worry for the police force over the next 11 years if these cuts continue. We urge the Scottish Government to look at their political targets to artificially maintain 1000 extra police officers and they continue to force through £1.1bn of cuts to policing.
George McIrvine also said ‘we welcome the recommendation that service centres in Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness should be maintained and staffed appropriately, while the final part of the reform to Police Control Rooms and Service Centres are consolidated. We doubt that its possible to close so many of Scotland control centres in the timescales set out without detriment to the service police scotland provide. We call on the Scottish Police Authority and the Scottish Government to adopt all measures in this interim review which go some way to safeguard and preserve the role of Police Staff within Police Scotland’
• UNISON represents police staff. We are the biggest trade union in Scotland
• Full copy of the HMICS Independent Assurance Review Police Scotland - Call Handling Interim Report can be read herehttp://www.hmics.org/sites/default/files/publications/