Police Scotland must not go ahead with staff recruitment freeze, says UNISON

UNISON, the union for police staff, has condemned a decision by Police Scotland to freeze staff recruitment.

The union say that Police Scotland are choosing to reduce police staff numbers even though there are already not enough staff to meet demand. The recruitment cap is due to start on August 9 (Wednesday).

Deputy secretary of Police Staff Scotland branch, David Malcolm said: “Police Scotland rely on staff to do more and more overtime to keep the service running. They used 1.3 million hours of overtime in the last financial year.

Staff already struggle to get their breaks and book annual leave, and they regularly work on understaffed shifts. There is quite simply more work than staff to do it, and something needs to give. Policing in Scotland needs more money, or we need to do less.”

David Malcolm continued: “UNISON stewards have emails every day about custody suites straining at the seams and staff struggling to care for people with significant mental health needs. Staff in control rooms say they are juggling emergency calls as the work close to minimum safe staffing levels. And corporate services staff work many hours of flexi-time, but are not able to claim it back.”

UNISON regional organiser, Deborah Clarke said: “This decision by Police Scotland is an imposition on police support staff, who are already working flat out. UNISON has not agreed to a recruitment freeze and Police Scotland have not consulted us. It’s another top down decision taken with no consideration as to how it will affect hard-working police staff. The Scottish government are also asking emergency services to share services and collaborate better together. While this might sound good, it will just mean more work for already stressed staff”.

Notes to editors

  • UNISON is the union for police staff. It is the public services union representing 150,000 members in local government, health, education, police staff, social care, energy, and water. UNISON members workin public, voluntary and private sectors.
  • Police Scotland’s Strategic Oversight Board took the decision to pause police staff recruitment from Wednesday 9th August 2023 and this will remain in place until financial forecasts predict a balanced budget.
  • UNISON Contacts
    David Malcolm: 07885 621 271
    Deborah Clark: 07538 101 225
    Danny Phillips:  07944 664 110