Union concerned claims over ‘bullying culture’ at Scottish police HQ being ignored
A UNION has claimed concerns over a “culture of bullying and intimidation” at the interim HQ for Scotland’s single police force are being ignored.
Civil staff at the Scottish Police College, in Tulliallan face “systematic bullying and intimidation”, Unison Fife branch officer Alex Duncan has claimed.
• Unison’s Alex Duncan say that attempts to discuss claims of bullying at the Scottish Police College have “fallen no deaf ears”
• Duncan adds bullying concerns have surrounded SPC, which is set to become the interim HQ for a single Scottish police force, for 16 months
• Director of SPC denies allegations made by Duncan, saying “I absolutely reject these unsubstantiated suggestions that a culture of bullying exists in any part of our organisation”
Concerns have been raised, but complaints “have fallen on deaf ears”, he said, claiming requests to meet with managers from the Scottish Police Services Authority (SPSA) have been ignored or cancelled.
Mr Duncan said: “I’ve had concerns about the culture of bullying and intimidation at the college for about 16 months, and about how complaints and grievances raised by police staff are handled.
“All of my requests to discuss my concerns have fallen on deaf ears so far.
“If a police officer makes a complaint against a civilian member of staff it is taken seriously and dealt with very quickly.
“However, when it’s the other way round it’s a different story.”
Mr Duncan told The Courier newspaper that he is putting together a survey to allow workers to give their views confidentially, which he hopes to then raise with the SPSA.
Unison represents 53 members of staff at the college, which is to be the interim base for the new Police Service of Scotland, which could come into effect as early as next April.
Legislation to merge the existing eight regional forces was agreed at the Scottish Parliament last month.
John Geates, director of the Scottish Police College, said: “I absolutely reject these unsubstantiated suggestions that a culture of bullying exists in any part of our organisation.
“We haven’t had a high level of grievances raised by college staff in the last year and neither have we evidence of significant numbers of staff leaving.
“All employees, whether they be police staff or police officers, are treated the same under the same policies, there are no differences.
“There are agreed ways in which staff can raise concerns through our grievance policy - a policy that has been agreed with the very union that Mr Duncan represents.”
He added: “As an organisation we also carry out regular anonymous surveys of staff views and there is a secure service available to staff to raise concerns outwith formal procedures.
“As director, I have an open-door policy and anyone can come to me if they have any concerns.
“Contrary to the comments attributed to him in media reports, Mr Duncan has at no time raised these issues with me nor have I turned down the opportunity to meet with him.
“But I would be happy to meet him so that he can provide evidence to substantiate his claims as a matter of urgency.
“Our people are our greatest asset and we are not complacent. Leading and managing in a time of change is a difficult and challenging task. But it’s one we take very seriously.
“That’s why the Scottish Police College is one of a handful of organisations in Scotland which has achieved the Gold standard from Investors in People for supporting its staff and we are proud of this recognition.”
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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