McArthur responds to “scandalous” report on police station conditions

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP has today demanded Police Scotland and the SPA conduct the long overdue service wide staff survey, after an investigation by the Scottish Police Federation uncovered scandalous cases of neglected police stations and staff.

The interim report recommended facilities in Dunoon, Campbeltown and Lochgilphead be closed immediately because of the “disgraceful” conditions.

The report concludes “the apparent singular obsession of the SPA with driving a cuts agenda at all costs has led to unsafe working conditions, put the health of police officers and public at risk, introduced significant risk to effective crime investigation and offender management, and almost certainly led to the law being broken.”

Among the findings of the Scottish Police Federation’s investigation were:

  • Crumbling plasterwork in Oban station
  • Mushrooms growing in a shower room in Dunoon because of leaking radiators
  • Dangerous electrics
  • Officers salvaging chairs from skips because they were better quality than the ones they have
  • A rat infestation in Lochgilphead station
  • Officers concerned about the safety of the water supply
  • Fire escapes that are locked without keys to open them
  • Cells with “self-harm opportunities” and possible ligature points
  • Reports about “budget bun fights” for essential supplies including medical kits for rape victims

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.

Liam McArthur commented:

“This investigation has uncovered some absolutely scandalous cases of neglected police stations and staff. It’s clear that some buildings have been left in such a state of disrepair that they’re not only dangerous and unpleasant working environments, but an actual health hazard.

“The public will be absolutely dismayed to find Police Scotland has been so drained of resources that in some cases victims are having to give officers lifts back to the station.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats have made repeated calls for Police Scotland and the SPA to conduct the long overdue police staff survey. The 2015 survey shed light on concerns about the lack of resources and revealed less than one in ten officers and staff believed the service was genuinely interested in their wellbeing. Conditions like this show why staff need to be heard once again.

“It shouldn’t take a deep dive investigation to expose such evidently squalid conditions. The Cabinet Secretary must ask the national force to bring forward the long-overdue survey to find out what staff now think about the tools they are given, two years after they were supposed to be given that opportunity.”

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