Fears over jobs has left morale at an “all-time low” for police civilian staff.
Last week’s announcement by the man who will head the single Scottish police force that up to 3000 support workers could go has many worried for their future.
Now a union official has warned that if the cuts go-ahead, it will be inevitable that police officers will have to leave front-line duties to carry out the support roles.
Stephen House was sworn in as the first Chief Constable of the new Police Service of Scotland at a ceremony on Monday in Tulliallan Castle, the home of the Scottish Police College and the interim HQ for the new organisation.
However, following his appointment he warned the merger of the country’s eight forces could lead to almost half of Scotland’s support staff being axed.
It has since been reported that 550 jobs will go as soon as the new service comes into operation on April 1 next year with another £74 million of redundancies and early retirements to follow.
Mr House said: “There are changes to make and these will not be easy. We need to organise ourselves better.
“We need to tackle inconsistencies in national systems and procedures, while backing the local discretion of commanders to deal with local issues.”
One support worker said: ”Morale is at an all-time low. People don’t know if they will have a job next year. It’s a dreadful situation to be in.”
Raymond Farrell, the Unison shop steward for Central Scotland Police staff, said: “There is a great deal of uncertainty around because people are concerned.
“To lose 3000 support staff would mean the loss of almost half of those currently working in Scotland and that’s just not feasible.
“The work doesn’t go away and many of the roles they carry out are specialised.
He went on: “As a taxpayer, I don’t want police officers to be answering phones, typing letters or manning reception desks. There needs to be a rethink very quickly.”