Date: Wed 5 December 2012
Fix the ‘Polishambles’ and create a balanced police service - UNISON
UNISON has called for the Scottish government to end the ‘Polishambles’ of police reorganisation and commit to a balanced police service which will better serve our communities.
Speaking ahead of today’s Scottish Parliament debate on Policing in Scotland, George McIrvine, chair of UNISON’s Scottish Police Committee, said:
“The latest twist in the 'Polishambles' that is the new centralised police service is the public dispute between Chief Constable Stephen House and Vic Emery, the chairman of the Scottish Police Authority (SPA), over who should have day-to-day control over human resources and finance.
“The sooner the government acts to resolve this dispute - and commits to a balanced police service, rather than massive jobs cuts for police staff - the better our communities will be served.”
Dave Watson, UNISON’s Head of Bargaining and Campaigns, said:
“It was obvious from the start that the Bill to set up the new police structure was going create difficulties due to confusion over the respective roles of the SPA and Chief Constable - and who would be the employer of police staffs. Having botched the legislation the Scottish Government needs to resolve the mess they created.
“While we have had our differences with Steve House over his views on civilianisation, it simply isn't credible to ask him to run the service when key functions are directed elsewhere.”
UNISON Scotland supports the motion for today’s debate by Lewis Macdonald MSP, Labour’s justice spokesman, which calls on the Scottish Government to establish ‘a clear deadline for the resolution of this dispute’.
The motion also calls on the Scottish Government to ‘guarantee that there will be no back-filling of staff posts by police officers or contracting out of staff posts to the private sector to meet the budget cuts planned over the next three years.’
UNISON organises Scottish police staffs who are threatened with thousands of job losses as a result of the way the government has managed reorganisation – combining an unsustainable commitment to police officer numbers while demanding huge savings.
Dave Watson added:
“The wider lesson for government is that it is better to listen more carefully to the views of those who understand the services they are reorganising. 'I told you so' may give a certain level of satisfaction, but I would rather we didn't get into this 'Polishambles' in the first place.
For further information please contact:
George McIrvine, chair of UNISON's Scottish Police Committee, on 07842 542 677
Dave Watson, Head of Bargaining and Campaigns, UNISON Scotland, on 07958 122 409
Malcolm Burns, Communications Officer, UNISON Scotland, 0141 342 2877 or 078765 66978
Fiona Montgomery, Communications Officer, UNISON Scotland on 0141 342 2877 or 07508 877000
Notes for editors
1. UNISON represent represents police staff across Scotland. Police staff deliver a wide range of services including complex and specialised functions that are central to modern day police forces, while allowing uniformed officers to concentrate on their operational policing duties.
Up to three thousand police staff across Scotland face losing their jobs as a result of Scottish government commitment to budget savings for the new police service while at the same time maintaining police officer numbers at the current level of 17,234.
2. On the dispute between the Chief Constable and the chair of the SPA please see:
Polishambles - Dave Watson’s blog Thu 29 November 2012
Scottish police staff are ‘brunt of perverse game of control’- UNISON News release: Tue 27 November 2012
3. Labour motion for debate in Scottish Parliament Wed 5 December 2012
*S4M-05087 Lewis Macdonald: Policing in Scotland—
That the Parliament notes the view of the Scottish Government that “the Chief Constable has direction and control of the Police Service of Scotland and is responsible for its day to day administration”; regrets the First Minister’s description of the dispute between the Chief Constable and the Chair of the Scottish Police Authority over responsibility for the delivery of policing in Scotland as “creative tension”; calls on the Scottish Government to establish a clear deadline for the resolution of this dispute, and further calls on the Scottish Government to guarantee that there will be no back-filling of staff posts by police officers or contracting out of staff posts to the private sector to meet the budget cuts planned over the next three years.
4. Documents giving UNISON’s analysis of the police reform process and our ongoing campaign for a balanced, modern police force – rather than cutting thousands of police staff jobs – are available on our website: For more information see UNISON’s police pages http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/police/index.html