There was outcry at UNISON’s police and justice conference today at the new lists that bar police staff from jobs for life.
The police barred and advisory lists, brought in less than a year ago, are lists that police staff, special constables, and officers are added to if they are dismissed.
The dismissal does not only have to be due to misconduct however, it also includes workers dismissed over attendance and performance, which means those dismissed for lack of attendance due to poor health.
One member told conference that he had a colleague who was dismissed for lack of attendance due to depression, and a colleague dismissed for attendance issues related to cancer, and both are now on the lists.
Many police staff also work, voluntarily, as police constables. Jo Dibb, from the national young members forum, pointed out the impact that the new lists could have on staff volunteering.
Jo is a contact handler and a special constable, but if he is dismissed for one of those roles, it means he will be barred from doing the other. He has colleagues who are considering giving up their roles as special constables in case they lose their job.
Another member told conference about a colleague she had who was dismissed because of lack of attendance due to severe depression.
The woman loved her job, and although technically she was dismissed, her managers praised her work for the police and said they hoped she recovered and could work again in the future. She later found out she was on the barred list.
Delegates called on the service group executive to co-ordinate action in branches affected by the legislation and to highlight the unfairness of the barred and advisory lists, and also to ascertain the impact they have had on retaining special constable volunteers.