Thank you for getting in touch with me on the issue of Police pay.
In the worst cost of living crisis in recent decades, workers across the country are facing up to a reality of vastly increased bills for essentials like food and heating, and wages which are not keeping pace. Scottish Labour are clear that workers cannot be left to bear the brunt of this crisis, and that is especially true for dedicated key workers, like police officers, who kept working throughout the worst of the coronavirus pandemic. Scottish Labour recognises the vital role that police officers carry out and the unique responsibilities and challenges that it comes with; we owe it to them to ensure they are paid fairly.
I am very concerned to read that a number of police officers and their representatives believe that the Scottish Government has been taking advantage of the fact that police officers cannot go on strike, and many feel that they have not been approaching these negotiations in a constructive manner. On June 16th, 2022 my colleague Pauline McNeill MSP, Scottish Labour’s Justice Spokesperson, raised the pay offer Police had received, and the warnings that more than 800 police officers are expected to take early retirement due to being overworked and undervalued, with Nicola Sturgeon. She asked the First Minister what steps she was taking to ensure that Police officers do not feel undervalued, and what was being done to encourage officers to stay in the force. You can read the full exchange by following this link.
Scottish Labour are clear that the Government must step up to its responsibilities and get all the parties around the negotiating table to resolve the police pay dispute; please be assured that we will continue to hold press the SNP on the action they are taking.
For too long the SNP Government’s treatment of police officers up and down the country has failed to recognise the vital work they do to keep us safe. The Scottish Police Federation has raised concerns about the working conditions officers face, noting that many are frequently having to work on rest days, and having their annual leave cancelled at short notice. Reports that Police Scotland could now be facing cuts as a result of the government’s financial mismanagement will be met with dismay not only by police officers and staff, but by the communities they serve.
The Chief Constable of Police Scotland, Sir Iain Livingstone, has warned that potential cuts could result in fewer officers on the street, and have an impact on preventative police activity including around “digitally enabled offending” such as online child sexual abuse. These devasting cuts will mean poorer justice services for our communities and will breach the SNP’s own pledge before the last election to protect the Police resource budget.
My Scottish Labour colleagues and I will continue to engage with the Scottish Police Federation and officers across Scotland, and do all we can to highlight the concerns of those on the frontline. We are committed to holding the Scottish Government to account for their failure to support our justice system and deliver on their own promises.