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Date: Tues 4 September 2012

Police numbers increased by taking uniformed officers off the street

UNISON, the union for Police Staffs, responded to claims today from the Scottish Government that it had “exceeded its commitment to put 1,000 extra officers in communities” by pointing out that police are being taken off the street to cover jobs previously done by police staff.

George McIrvine, Chair of UNISON Scotland’s Police Committee, said: “It’s nonsense for Kenny MacAskill to claim that he has ‘1000 extra officers in communities’ when everyone involved in policing knows that the length and breadth of Scotland uniformed officers are being taken off the street to backfill police staff jobs – jobs they aren’t trained to do and at a greater cost than the staff they replace – and this will rise significantly if current plans go ahead.

“We need a balanced workforce where the skills of police staffs enable police officers to do the job the public wants them to do, where they want them to do it. That is fighting crime, out on the streets. Using Officers as expensive replacements for police staff might meet a political target - but not the needs of Scotland’s communities.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. As the Scottish Government has an arbitrary target to maintain police officer numbers at 17234, the focus of the savings are concentrated on police staffs. This has resulted in over 1000 police staff posts being lost already. As a consequence, police officers are taking on the work of police staffs.

2. Other documents giving analysis of the police reform process and UNISON’s 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

For more information contact:

· George McIrvine, chair of UNISON’s Police Committee, on 07842 542677

· Dave Watson, UNISON’s Scottish Organiser, on 07958 122 409

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