Scotland’s police officers to ‘withdraw goodwill’ as pay dispute escalates

The Scottish Police Federation, which represents frontline officers, said “all goodwill” will be withdrawn from 5pm on Friday.

It said officers had been treated with “utter contempt”.

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The SPF previously rejected a pay increase of £565 for Scottish police officers, which its general secretary Calum Steele said amounted to a 2 per cent rise for most members and 1 per cent for its higher-earning members.

Picture: John Devlin

I have criticized the Scottish Police Authority, Police Scotland and Scottish ministers for failing to get round the negotiating table.

Police officers are prohibited by law from taking industrial action or withdrawing their labour.

But Mr Steele has insisted there are other measures officers can take.

The latest move means police officers will not start their shifts early and will conclude their tours of duty at the allocated time.

The SPF added: “Police officers will not take any items of police personal protective equipment home with them at the end of their tours of duty, regardless of where they are expected to commence their next tour of duty.”

It said officers will also not take “any ancillary items of police equipment, for example airwave radios or personal data appliances, home with them at the end of their tour of duty.”

In a letter to Chief Constable Iain Livingstone, Mr Steele said: “Further actions to safeguard our members health and safety, and to mitigate the effects of the cost of living crisis on them will follow over subsequent weeks.”

He added: “I need to be clear that the formal withdrawal of good-will is not an action of the JCC [joint central committee of the SPF] you have endorsed lightly.

“It is nonetheless a manifestation of the strength of feeling of our members of the utter contemplate this pay offer represents to them.

“It will not be lost on you that this is the most significant discontent in the police service since the 1970s, and the most overt demonstration of action by our members in over 100 years.”

In a letter to members, Mr Steele stressed it is “vitally important that all of our members stand shoulder to shoulder in support of this action”.

He said: “Should you encounter any hostility in respect of your actions you should make these known to your local federation office ASAP.”

He added: “The purpose of this action is categorically not to frustrate any investigation, or further aggravate any victim’s experience.

“It is simply to demonstrate to our employers just how much discretionary effort, and free policing hours, they ordinarily take for granted.

“I appreciate many of the actions laid out in the letter to the Chief Constable will feel alien to you.

“It is however essential that in order to persuade our ’employers’ to return to the negotiating table with a fair pay offer, that we use all lawful methods to demonstrate our anger and dissatisfaction with what is on offer.”

The letter makes clear officers “may not refuse a lawful order.”

It added: “For example, an officer may be ordered to report for duty before their rostered tour of duty is due to begin.

“Where this occurs, overtime is payable and should be claimed.”

Scottish Conservative justice spokesman Jamie Greene said: “This further action announced by the Scottish Police Federation highlights that relations between the SNP Government and police officers have hit rock bottom.

“These measures may seem limited but given that officers cannot legally go on strike, this is a powerful indication of how furious the police are with the SNP Government, who are shamefully trying to take advantage of their limited industrial-action rights.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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