Police jumped gun on job cut letters

Fife Police'police car'flashing lights
Fife Police'police car'flashing lights

POLICE have been accused of acting prematurely in sending out statutory redundancy notices to 250 civilian staff in Fife – when less that a third of that number have been identified as needing to be cut.

And they have been asked to recall the letters letters by Councillors Peter Grant, leader of Fife Council and George Kay, chairman of the police, fire and safety committee,.

They say that police civilian staff are employees of the Council and must be given the same treatment as other local authority workers when it comes to possible redundancies.

Speaking to the Press this week, Councillor Grant said the letters did not constitute redundancy notices because full employment law procedures had not been followed.

He said: “We are not in a situation where 250 people have to be made redundant.

‘‘What we have to do is examine this and see where we could avoid job losses.

‘‘I would like to see if it was possible to reduce this to single figures.

Fear and stress

“When we have had similar situations in the Council, we have been able to find ways to focus more narrowly on those likely to be affected, thus causing less fear and stress to lots of people.”

Councillor Kay added: “I have had meetings with the police when the funding gap was identified.

‘‘My understanding was that the best way forward was to bring it to the police, fire and safety committee in September where it could be fully discussed, giving everyone the opportunity to put forward possible solutions.

Lack of understanding

“Obviously there has been a lack of understanding here.”

Norma Graham, Chief Constable of Fife Police, issued a statement saying: “Like Councillor Grant, I have a real desire to avoid redundancies.

‘‘It is for that very reason, and in fairness to our staff that the 90-day consultation period has been initiated.

‘‘It would, of course, be inappropriate to start detailed consultation with other parties without advising staff first. Indeed, the force is legally bound to consult with staff at the earliest opportunity.

“At this stage no decisions have yet been made and proper consultation with all our people can now take place.

‘‘It may be that no posts have to be made redundant but we owe it to our staff to be open and transparent about what we are considering.

“I look forward to hearing Councillor Grant’s proposals around making the necessary efficiencies without impacting on staff.”

The issue is on the agenda for the police, fire and safety committee on September 15.