Fri 29th Sept 17

Perth Police HQ - by Ninian Reid via Flickr
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Scotland’s acting police chief Iain Livingstone yesterday gave an “authentic commitment” that the force would move to “decentralise” posts from the central belt and transfer them to the Highland capital. The deputy chief constable designate, who delayed his retirement this month as Chief Constable Phil Gormley faces gross misconduct allegations, made the pledge amid a row over “broken promises” over jobs. He was speaking at meeting of the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) board in Inverness, where the closure of the city’s police control room was rubber-stamped, as was the co-location of a new National Database Enquiry Unit (NDEU) between the Highland capital and Govan.

The Scottish Police Authority (SPA) board yesterday approved a three-month public consultation on plans to put 14% of the force estate on the market. A dozen stations in the Highlands and islands would go up for sale under the plans, as well as five in Aberdeenshire, four in Aberdeen and four in Argyll and Bute The majority of the properties would be sold next year, and the force believes it can secure £6.147million for the stations. Assistant Chief Constable Andy Cowie told the SPA meeting in Inverness yesterday: “As you all know we inherited a large estate on April 1, 2013, some of it was Victorian and evolved over many, many decades, and whist it may have been fit at one time, it certainly has not kept pace with the evolving plan for services.

Police chiefs warn they will need up to £43million of extra cash as they vow cops won’t miss out on public sector pay hikes

POLICE chiefs warned they will need up to £43million of extra cash as they vowed cops won’t miss out on public sector pay hikes. Bosses revealed a 2.7 per cent “cost of living” rise would alm-ost double the £47million funding gap the force has this year. And a smaller two per cent hike would still cost an extra £25million by 2021 — equivalent to 600 jobs. Chief financial officer James Gray told the Scottish Police Authority yesterday: “I think it extremely difficult we’d ever be able to do that in a measured way.

MSPs unanimously back Domestic Abuse Bill at first stage in Scottish Parliament which hopes to make coercive and controlling behaviour a punishable offence

A GROUND-BREAKING Bill to criminalise psychological domestic abuse has passed its first hurdle at Holyrood. MSPs unanimously backed the general principles of the Domestic Abuse Bill in a vote at the Scottish Parliament. The legislation will create a specific offence of “abusive behaviour in relation to a partner or ex-partner” including psychological abuse such as coercive and controlling behaviour. During the stage one debate on the Bill, Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said it was the “next important step in the fight to address the scourge that is domestic abuse”. He said despite previous action and reforms, the criminal law still did not fully reflect such abuse in all its forms.

Call handling activity and incident management will move to the Dundee control room in around three months, after the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) approved plans for closure in consultation with staff. It follows the closure of the Aberdeen control room earlier this year, with its functions also moving to Dundee and Police Scotland Service Centre sites. Approval was also given at the SPA meeting for the creation of a National Database Enquiry Unit based in Inverness and Glasgow, with staff working in the northern control room expected to cross over to the new unit. Proposals said the unit will allow better and quicker searches of the Police National Computer and criminal history databases, which are currently accessed around 1,600 times a day with different areas following different procedures. Creation of the unit was approved subject to consultation with staff involved.

Chief Constable Phil Gormley went on leave earlier this month after a second complaint against him was passed to the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc). Yesterday it emerged a third complaint has been referred to investigators by the Scottish Police Authority. Mr Gormley, a former deputy director of the National Crime Agency, was appointed to Police Scotland’s top job in December 2015. The national force, which was formed in April 2013, had endured a turbulent couple of years under Mr Gormley’s predecessor, Sir Stephen House, and it was hoped the new chief constable would help steady the ship.

Unfunded pay rise could cost force 600 officers

Scrapping the public sector pay cap will bring a “significant cost pressure” to Police Scotland’s budget, the Scottish Police Authority has warned. Earlier this month, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that the one per cent cap on public sector pay rises would be removed next year. However, within the Scottish Police Authority’s (SPA’s) three-year financial plan – which will be presented at its public board meeting on Thursday (September 28) – it warns that this will require Police Scotland to make up an additional £25.8 million in savings.  The report said this is the equivalent of 600 police officers or 850 police staff members.

Third allegation made against chief constable under investigation

Police Scotland’s chief constable faces a third complaint while already being investigated over allegations of bullying. The Scottish Police Authority (SPA) confirmed a fresh complaint against Phil Gormley has been referred to the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner, which is currently investigating him for potential gross misconduct. Mr Gormley was granted ‘special leave’ earlier this month and has stepped aside while the inquiry continues. The announcement prompted Deputy Chief Constable Designate Iain Livingstone to cancel his retirement plans and take over leadership of Police Scotland until further notice.

Police control room in Inverness to close in new year

Police Scotland’s only Highland control room is expected to close early next year. The Scottish Police Authority (SPA) voted on Thursday to shut the Inverness call centre. Aberdeen, Dundee, Stirling, Dumfries and Glenrothes have already shut, while Inverness is expected to close in January after a consultation with staff. All 999 and 101 calls will be answered in the central belt following its closure, a plan which has proved controversial following a series of call-handling blunders by the force. More than 200 people have quit Police Scotland over the control room reorganisation but no jobs are expected to be lost as a result of Inverness shutting.

POLICE Scotland is closing its control room in Inverness and transferring the service south to Dundee. However, staff will be offered positions at a new national database enquiry unit (NDEU) that will be set up in the city and in Govan. The control room closure was approved at a meetings yesterday of the Scottish Police Authority.

Police Scotland’s proposals to close a working police station to save cash have been branded a “total cop out”. The force is currently seeking permission from the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) to begin a three-month public engagement over the future of 53 “disused” police properties which it claims are no longer required. Three of those properties are in the Falkirk area and while Bainsford station is empty and has not been used since 2016 and Bo’ness, which has been empty since 2014, is only used occasionally, Camelon is still staffed by a quartet of community officers and is a vital asset to the village according to Councillor Dennis Goldie.

The Evening Express reported on Wednesday Aberdeen has the second highest level of crime in Scotland – despite a fall in overall illegal activity in the city. However, there had been a rise in violence, sexual crime and incidents involving prostitution, according to new Scottish Government figures. Aberdeen City Centre Chief Inspector Martin Mackay said he was pleased the streets are getting safer, and stressed the importance of people understanding the figures in context. The statistics were in a Scottish Government report, which said 87% of all crimes associated with prostitution in Scotland were recorded in either Aberdeen or Glasgow. “Both of these local authorities have seen a decrease of more than half in the last 10 years.

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