Thousands of Police Scotland rest days cancelled for events

Covering events like the Meadows Festival in Edinburgh has put extra pressure on Police Scotland. Picture: Greg Macvean
Covering events like the Meadows Festival in Edinburgh has put extra pressure on Police Scotland. Picture: Greg Macvean
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More than 6,000 officer rest days were cancelled in just one police division last year to cover events such as football matches and parades.

A review carried out by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) found Police Scotland has a proven track record of ensuring public events are safe and cause with minimal disorder, despite inconsistencies across the country in how they are managed and resourced.

But it said more than 1,450 officers in the Greater Glasgow division were affected by having more than one rest day cancelled in 2018 in order to police 240 events in the city.

The watchdog said that resulted in 6,257 rest days being cancelled, ultimately impacting on the service provided to the public as days off have to be given at a later date.

HMICS undertook its inspection following concern from officers and staff about the volume of events and the associated consequences for their local communities.

HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary Gill Imery said: “Over 6,600 events were on Police Scotland’s events calendar for 2018 and while they were delivered safely, it is less clear what impact their resourcing had on other aspects of policing in the area in which they were held and across Scotland.

“The resourcing of events is complex and different processes and procedures for identifying officers and staff are being used throughout Scotland which impacts on efficient and effective resourcing of events.”

She added: “We have made recommendations for Police Scotland which, once implemented, will allow the service to develop its processes regarding the resourcing of events, ensuring they continue to be policed safely whilst reducing the impact on officers, staff and local communities.”

HMICS also found confusion and inefficiency had been caused by inconsistencies in the methods used to allocate officers and staff to events, resulting in the most appropriate resource not always being identified.

Debriefs afterwards did not routinely consider whether the type and number of resources provided was proportionate.

Police Scotland will be asked to create an action plan to address the recommendations contained within the report.

Over recent years, Scotland has hosted a number of high-profile events such as the 2014 Ryder Cup, the Commonwealth Games 2014 and the visit of the President Donald Trump.