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To: Members of the Scottish Parliament
UNISON Scotland is concerned about the loss of 3,000 police staff jobs.
Police staffs include properly qualified civilian personnel delivering a wide range of routine, complex and specialised functions that are central to modern day police forces, while allowing uniformed officers to concentrate on their operational policing duties. Taking trained operational police officers off the streets to perform administrative or specialist tasks, at greater cost, makes no economic or operational sense. This will return the police service in Scotland almost to the 1980s, with inefficient and outdated police practice.
Savings targets and the 17,234 officer target means almost all cuts fall on police staffs that only make up 15% of the budget. 1,000 police staff posts have already been lost and ACPOS estimates indicate a further 2,000 will have to go. This increases to over 3,000 when VAT and other cuts are applied. As a consequence the proportion of police staff will fall from 28% to less than 15% - half the level in England. That takes policing in Scotland almost back to pre-civilianisation levels.
UNISON believes that the new Scottish Police Authority should be able to decide on a balanced staffing structure free of cosmetic political targets for police officer numbers that were set before the new single force was proposed. That is the proper best value approach. UNISON is calling on MSPS to support that position in Parliament.
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