As you will be aware, part-time representatives from the North Area Committee of the Scottish Police Federation, based in D Division, undertake regular meetings with Chief Superintendent Andrew Todd.
This offers a chance to highlight concerns and issues raised by our members and also provides Mr Todd with the opportunity to listen and provide the Reps with some important updates and an insight into the work being carried out by the command team.
The latest meeting was held within the SPF office at City Quay, Dundee on 21 November 2019 and was attended by:
The meeting opened with a general update to the reps from Ch Supt Andrew Todd.
Empowerment and decision making being some of the focus on this discussion, tasking and direction for officers, encouraging officers to be decisive and proactive.
Mentoring is being seen as a very important programme for new sergeants, to ensure that they are being supported in going forward, giving them empowerment and confidence in their decision-making.
There was more focussed discussion around resourcing, C3, custody division, fraud investigations, mental health issues, wellbeing, training and the pressures and demand in respect of domestic abuse.
This is an area that receives most complaints/concerns from our members, the pressures they face both within the rural and city locations of our diverse Division. The issues are raised continually both to the command team and ACC Hawkins.
You will be aware that due to the issues raised by you with the SPF, the Resourcing Review Management Group, which is chaired by Supt Graeme Murdoch, was set up and meets every two weeks. After some excellent work carried out by Sgt Majid Zaferi during his consultation with you, your voice is directly heard by the group.
This is a challenging area of business, however your ideas and concerns are the main focus and are the drivers for the agenda and actions.
Control Room (C3)
Always seen as a very challenging environment to work with its own needs and demands, which on occasions can be misrepresented, it is important that we all understand the differing challenges we face within our respective areas of responsibility.
The introduction of CAM is anticipated to take over from PAD and should deal with a good deal of the non-urgent work.
Again a challenging environment with high risk. Concerns were raised around the time being taken to process prisoners as well as remote supervision by out with custody sergeants. Also the need on occasion to backfill.
The work being done around this varies across the UK and as we know many frauds will cross not just local authority borders, but international ones too. This can result in long and protracted inquiries passed from division to division, force to force. It was raised that some of the actions cannot be closed because of the various anomalies as previously mentioned.
Mental Health Issues
All reps were critical of the use of police resources for mental health issues and the prolonged abstractions when dealing with such calls. Mr Todd was sympathetic to the issues and one that has been high on the agenda for some time. He is working with partner agencies in relation to this and it has been a topic for discussion at First Minister’s Questions since the review of Tayside Mental Health services began. The division are awaiting the publication of the Strang report covering the review of Tayside Mental Health Services.
The divisional commander is given a budget to spend on wellbeing. However, this is challenging as he is not completely empowered to use it without support from other departments and divisions. This is due to the constraints of tendering and purchasing agreements and protocols by other departments such as estates and IT. For example, Mr Todd would like to install water filters at all stations but this has to go through to the estates team and can’t be done as a local agreement. Likewise, the purchase of a standalone computer for each station to use for viewing CCTV images etc – has to go through IT purchasing protocols.
The issue of replacement body armour was discussed, and the lengthy wait by officers for new kit. This is very dependent on the stock levels maintained by stores due to budget constraints and was acknowledged Mr Todd.
Probationer training is going to be under the SQA in the near future. OST will become two days per year, including a large practical element of first aid training. OST will be based on more practical, realistic scenarios. There is currently a review of the requirement for firearms officers to participate in the same level of training as they already undergoing intensive first aid training.
This takes up a considerable amount of time and there is a keenness to ensure the aftercare and management of cases are handled by the most relevant department/specialist. The CIU, CID or DAIU are all options that should be considered when tasking such protracted cases, considering the best placed officers to provide the best support and protection to the complainer/victim.
In summary, these meetings are a chance for the reps to place CS Todd on the spot and question the division directly on the issues that face you all on a day to day basis.
I would encourage you all to raise relevant issues with your local reps. (Sandy Smart, Shirley Moran, Gary Johnston, Caroline McNaughton, Pat Nicol, Alan Devine, Emma Bowman and Marc Lorente).
James Thomson, deputy secretary for the North Area.