McArthur challenges Justice Secretary over “unfit for human habitation” police buildings

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP has today questioned the Justice Secretary about a bombshell report from the Scottish Police Federation, in which the union described some buildings in the police estate as being “unfit for human habitation”. 

The report found:

  • Mushrooms growing in a damp shower room
  • Rat infestations
  • Locked fire escapes with no keys
  • Worries about the safety of the water from the taps
  • Furniture salvaged from skips
  • Victims having to give officers lifts.

Mr McArthur highlighted SPF warnings that these conditions present “significant legal and reputational risk” and its recommendation that that the SPA refer itself to the Crown Office for investigation.

In response, Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf failed to confirm whether or not he believed an investigation was necessary or whether Police Scotland was illegally operating HMOs.

Speaking after the exchange, Mr McArthur said:

“This is an alarming report showing the dire condition of much of the police estate.  Asking officers and staff to carry out their difficult and often dangerous duties in such circumstances is unfair and unreasonable.  Eleven years after taking office, and six years since their botched centralisation, SNP Ministers cannot credibly continue to blame previous administrations.

“The SPF is to be commended on shining a light on these problems, but we need a thorough investigation to establish whether housing or health and safety legislation has been breached.  We also need the long overdue staff survey to be carried out to establish what other issues might be lurking beneath the surface.

“Both the Justice Secretary and the national force need to demonstrate that they are looking out for the welfare of officers and staff.”

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