Scottish Parliament need data on police officers backfilling posts, says UNISON.

UNISON Police Staff Scotland, the branch of the trade union that represents police staff in Scotland, has criticised the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee because it is unable to understand the extent of police officers back filling police staff jobs, due to lack of data.

The criticism was made in response to the report on post-legislative scrutiny of the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012 - The Police Service of Scotland, which has been published by the Scottish Parliament Justice Committee.

The report acknowledges that police staff jobs are being back filled by police officers in order to meet financial savings, but says it does not know the extent of problem because they have not been given the information they need to assess it.

David Malcolm, Deputy Police Staff Branch secretary said: “The Policing 2026 project was brought to the trade unions as a way to rebalance the work force. It set out to prevent our member’s jobs being carried out unnecessarily by police officers. After all, police staff provide better value to the public purse and police officers should be out on the street helping the public. We can not allow the salami-slicing of our members jobs to continue. It is bad for police staff and bad for public services.”

Gerry Crawley, UNISON regional organiser said: "This report makes clear that around 2000 police staff have been lost from the organisation. But the committee was not given the relevant data to establish the extent to which police officers have been backfilling posts. Police staff carry out highly skilled roles to protect the public. Work should be done by Police Scotland to provide the information the committee need, as soon as possible.”

You can read the report here:


UNISON Police Staff Scotland, the branch of UNISON representing Police Support Staff, informed the Scottish Police Authority today (8 December) that they are recommending its members reject the employers pay offer for 2016/17.

The offer made by the employer is no better than the the Scottish Government’s Public Sector Pay Policy and does not meet our reasonable demands and what our members expect. The Police Staff Branch will now run a consultative ballot over Christmas to gauge the strength of feeling of the members.

George McIrvine, Branch Secretary said, “Our members are not being paid appropriately for the work they do and the pressures they have been under since Police Scotland came into being in 2013. Average wages across the UK are on the increase.  And the rise in the cost of living, rate of inflation, National Insurance contributions are all impacting on take home pay, and yet our members are expected to cope on a miserly 1% pay rise. The employers delayed offer to our members is frankly derisory”

Gerry Crawley, UNISON regional organiser said, “There were no formal negotiations with the trade unions which has unfortunately led to this outcome. UNISON submitted a reasonable pay claim which has been rejected outright by the Scottish Police Authority. I do not think the employer really understands the day to day pressures our members are under. It is the employers’ financial mismanagement that has ultimately led to problems with budgets and Police Staff are the people who are bearing the brunt through brutal cuts. It is all the more frustrating when the Scottish Police Authority have not explored all options open to them.”