The public is being put at risk with police staff budget cuts, says UNISON

Even more crimes risk going unreported and not being fully investigated if the Scottish Police Authority agrees real-terms cuts at its annual budget meeting later today (Thursday), warns UNISON.

UNISON says police staff will be less able to respond to crimes and emergencies because of reduced employee numbers and a lack of specialist training.

The cuts are due to be approved today at the Scottish Police Authority’s annual budget meeting and cover the financial year starting next Friday (1 April).

The budget papers state that Scotland will see cuts to police officers, and that police staff will see a ‘reduction in posts proportionate to the reduction in police officer posts.’

In a letter, delivered to all staff on Monday (20 March), chief constable Sir Iain Livingstone says ‘hard choices will have to be made across the sector to cope with high inflation and cost of living crisis’.

UNISON Scotland police staff branch secretary Michelle Brewster said: “Hidden in these papers is the potential for up to 220 police staff cuts. The chief constable has also said Police Scotland can only deliver a service within its resources, but crime is not going away.

“Communities are likely to see crime going unreported and not fully investigated. Police staff will find it harder to keep the public safe as criminals evade punishment.

“Staff jobs include 999 call handlers, forensics, custody staff, and many other roles vital in fighting crime. These unsustainable government cuts will set policing back years, and staff will be under unbearable pressure.

“Scotland’s new first minister must sit down with the police authority and unions and put together a proper plan for policing, so communities get the modern police services they deserve.”

Notes to editors:
• UNISON represents all police staff roles which include fingerprint examiners, forensic examiners, 999 call handlers, custody staff, high-speed driving instructors, cybercrime experts, payroll, HR, and IT staff.
• UNISON Scotland is the public services union representing 150,000 members in local government, health, education, police staff, social care, energy, and water. UNISON members work in public, voluntary and private sectors.
• The budget paper is here

Media contacts:
Deborah Clarke, regional organiser: 07538 101225
Danny Phillips, communications officer: 07717 715277 / 07944 664110