Police to be taken off beat to do admin tasks says police staffs union

Date: Wednesday 6 November 2013

Police Scotland today announced plans to take police off the beat to do the work of 67 police staff jobs they intend to make redundant. Police Scotland want to abolish the post of police staff legal document officers and instead have the work done by uniformed patrol officers. They will attempt to carry out these extra tasks in addition to dealing with the usual job the public expect of police officers.

About 1/4 of the 67 posts are currently vacant as Police Scotland have allowed staff to take voluntary redundancy in the expectation that they will be abolishing their posts. This has happened before entering into any formal consultation period with staff.

UNISON has obtained a copy of the guidance which is being distributed to officers in Glasgow on how to carry out the various processes involved in the serving of legal documents. This is not simply a case of dropping a letter through a post box but can mean visiting a premise several times to receive the appropriate response and thereafter recording the actions taken. This is a time consuming and administrative burden which patrol officers do not need.

Gerry Crawley, UNISON Scotland regional organiser for police staffs said:

“Police Scotland have freely admitted that this work, the equivalent of 123,000 hours a year, is not disappearing. It will be given out to beat officers who will have to meet deadlines and carry out administration of the citation process which takes them away from their role of keeping people safe.

This is yet another example of Police Scotland making cuts at the expense of service to the public. Proposing to axe legal document staff and giving their work to police officers will have an impact on policing. This isn’t the ‘reduction of duplication’ people were promised; it is slash and burn to meet a budget.”

George McIrvine, Secretary of UNISON Police Staff Scotland commented:

“We were promised blue sky thinking when it came to meeting the budget cuts imposed by the Scottish government. Instead we have policing being taken back to the 1970s, reversing the progress we have made towards a modern police service by sacrificing police staffs to maintain an artificial target of uniformed officers.

It is difficult to see how Police Scotland and the SPA will meet their budget for 2014/2015, if their only response is doing away with police staff posts and giving the work to police officers. This is not best value and will not produce the most effective police service for the people of Scotland.”

For further information contact:
George McIrvine, Secretary, UNISON Police Staff Scotland branch, 07842 542 677
Gerry Crawley, UNISON Regional Organiser for police 07958 121 805

Notes to editors:
1. Proposals are being put to affected police staff across Scotland today which will see 67 posts deleted and work transferred to patrol police officers.

2. The amount of work is calculated by multiplying the number of posts (67) by the amount of hours worked annually in an individual post (1840).

3. Staff in this function have been released on voluntary redundancy / early retirement terms since April 2013..