I would like to pay tribute to the bravery, commitment and professionalism of our police who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic and continue to keep the public safe.
Arrangements for police pay are separate to those outlined in the Scottish Government’s public sector pay policy.
The Police Negotiating Board is comprised of the ‘Official Side’ and the ‘Staff Side’.
The ‘Official Side’ is represented by Police Scotland, the Scottish Police Authority and the Scottish Government while the ‘Staff Side’ is represented by police staff associations.
For 2022-23, negotiations between both sides are ongoing and the Scottish Conservatives continue to support a fair and generous settlement for our police.
The Scottish Police Federation (SPF) which represents rank and file police officers, described the first offer from the Official Side as ‘derisory’ and rejected it.
Many officers have become so discontent with being overworked and underpaid that they are retiring in droves and SPF has recommended unprecedented industrial action in the form of the “withdrawal of police goodwill” which will last “until further notice”.
This means that officers will only work their contracted hours and will not work over-time unless directly ordered to do so.
The SPF describe this as 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”.
It is imperative that the Scottish Government must urgently seek to resolve this dispute which risks endangering public safety. Police officers are not able to take strike action like other public sector workers and the Scottish Government should not exploit that fact to offer a bad deal.
Separate to the pay negotiations, the Scottish Government has outlined plans in its Spending Review to cut police funding over coming years despite the SNP manifesto promise to protect funding. This risks making the situation regarding officer welfare and pay even worse in the future.
The Scottish Government provide the funding that was promised and ensure that officers are properly supported and paid. My Scottish Conservative colleagues have raised this issue in Parliament and will continue to do so until a resolution is found.