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It mostly covers my work as UNISON Scotland's Head of Policy and Public Affairs although views are my own. For full coverage of UNISON Scotland's policy and campaigns please visit our web site. You can also follow me on Twitter. I hope you find this blog interesting and I would welcome your comments.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Police budget

Good story in the Sunday Herald yesterday covering the less well known impact of police budget cuts and the much vaunted '1000 extra police officers' the Scottish Government likes to crow about.

It reports on a paper presented to the Scottish Policing Board that calculates that 1200 police civilian posts could go to meet a £40m 'black hole' in the police budget. The paper states that; “Significant reductions to police staff numbers alone are seen to upset the efficient balance between police staff and police with the risk that officers would be used to backfill some police staff roles....."

The article quoting a police source puts the point more explicitly:
"One police insider said: “Instead of responding to crime, officers will become burdened by tasks that were previously delegated to other staff. Police staff are being sacrificed because the SNP want to go into the election boasting about hiring extra officers.”

The Sunday Herald asked me for an opinion piece that they published alongside this article. I give an overview of the roles police staff undertake in a modern police force that may be a surprise to many people. I also highlight how far behind Scotland already is in modernising this way, or to be precise how far behind some forces are. The simple message is that If you sack police staff you cut frontline policing. This is great news for criminals as officers are taken off the beat to do their jobs.

When Parliament starts to debate the budget this week MSP's need to focus on this crazy approach to the police budget. They should place effective policing before political spin.

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