Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP has written to Chair of the Scottish Police Authority, Susan Deacon, urging her to ensure Police Scotland urgently conducts the full staff survey that was originally planned to take place in Autumn 2018, after a recent SPF report revealed parts of the police estate in an unacceptable and dangerous condition.
Police Scotland and the SPA failed to undertake a full staff survey in summer 2017. It promised this would occur after the challenging results of the 2015 survey.
The text of Liam McArthur's letter is as follows:
Following recent revelations showing the dire conditions of some parts of the police estate, I write to encourage you to inject a greater degree of urgency into the administration of the upcoming police staff survey.
As you will certainly be aware, the findings from the Scottish Police Federation report showed that parts of the police estate fall significantly below what could be considered an acceptable level. In the specific cases cited, these deficiencies were such that they put the safety of officers, staff, and the public at risk. In addition, they will have most certainly undermined the morale, and the effectiveness of those employed by Police Scotland.
I understand that an engagement and wellbeing survey had been planned for the autumn of 2018, but that this was then pushed back for a year. In light of recent revelations, I am deeply concerned that the extent of this delay is excessive.
I cannot understand how informed decisions about the administration of budgets can be made without a proper understanding of the lived experience of officers and staff. While it may well be that there is some level of engagement with officers carried out on an ad hoc basis, recent reports would suggest that these are failing to identify serious issues within the service.
I would therefore be grateful for details of when exactly the next police staff survey will take place, and what the justification is for a year long delay, which itself follows previous deferrals. If the timing of the survey cannot be brought forward, I would also appreciate an explanation of why that is the case.
Finally, given the seriousness of the findings from the recent SPF report, you will be aware of suggestions that some of the failings might trigger legal proceedings. I would be grateful for clarification of the advice the Authority has taken in this regard, including on the issue as to whether or not Police Scotland was illegally operating HMOs.
I look forward to your response.