UNISON Scotland, the largest union for police staff, has revealed that police officers in the Strathclyde force are doing staff jobs - including call centre work - instead of frontline duties. The union argues that this means Strathclyde Police is failing to meet its claimed targets for frontline officers, and the situation will get worse following the jobs freeze announced yesterday and further staff redundancies being planned by the force.
Gerry Crawley, Regional Officer for UNISON's Strathclyde Police branch said:
"We have discovered that 36% of the jobs in Stratchlyde Police Area Control Rooms - which are essentially specialised call centres - are being done by police officers rather than the expert staff who are trained for the jobs. The Chief Constable claims that more than 400 extra frontline police have been added since 2007 to meet the government's target. In fact 126 officers are not deployed on frontline duties, despite being counted in the total claimed by Strathclyde Police."
The figures are contained in the latest internal equalities impact assessment carried out by the force and seen by the union. This has revealed that only 227 of 351 jobs across all three Area Control Rooms in Govan, Motherwell and the police HQ at Pitt Street in Glasgow are being done by the specialised staff who are trained and skilled in these jobs. 126 police officers were covering posts in these centres - instead of doing the frontline jobs for which they have been employed.
Gerry Crawley said:
"Strathclyde Police yesterday announced a jobs freeze - and we believe that the force is now planning staff redundancies, despite covering existing staff shortages with frontline officers.
"The skills provided by police staffs are vital in delivering the safety on our streets which is demanded by the public. Instead of making pre-emptive cuts, whether by a jobs freeze or outright redundancies, and even before budget cuts are implemented by whichever government, the Strathclyde Police should be working with the unions and making the case in public for the right number of people in the right jobs to ensure an effective police service."
UNISON Strathclyde Police and Fire branch has asked for a meeting with Strathclyde Police over the announcement yesterday (Tue 13 July) of an immediate recruitment freeze.
Gerry Crawley said:
"We will oppose wholesale cuts in staff jobs - we are here to protect and serve the public, not to be sacrificial lambs to budget cuts which no-one voted for