Police officers and staff play a vital role in keeping us safe. But we know that the formation of the SNP’s single police force has caused real difficulties.
Whether it is controversy over the industrial use of stop and search, armed police officers on routine duties across the country, or the tragic events following the M9 crash, it seems that the service is lurching from crisis to crisis.
The first Police Scotland staff survey revealed that this has had a huge impact on hard-working police officers and staff.
The force-wide survey revealed that just eight per cent thought the national force was genuinely interested in their well-being. Eight per cent. One third of officers said they were planning on leaving the force and only 15% would recommend Police Scotland as a good place to work.
These are sobering findings. This week at First Minister’s Questions I pressed Nicola Sturgeon on this shocking report. The fact that she was taking this seriously was welcome. But she still appears to be in denial over how her government’s reforms have impacted on staff welfare.
The police staff survey could not have been clearer. The top down, target-driven approach that her government forced through has left officers feeling undervalued, under pressure and isolated from senior management.
The First Minister needs to listen to what officers and staff are telling us loud and clear.
The new chief constable will face a huge challenge as they work to turn things round at Police Scotland. They must have the full backing of the First Minister to take the difficult decisions that need to me made.