Blog: To preserve our safety, we must protect police staff

Our new ‘We Are Police Staff’ campaign will demonstrate our unwavering commitment to promote and defend police staff

UNISON members working in the police and justice sector are spearheading a new ‘We Are Police Staff’ campaign.

The campaign will demonstrate our unwavering commitment to promote and defend the rights of police staff, who are tirelessly working in police forces across England, Scotland and Wales.

This will be no fleeting effort, but a long-term initiative that aims to make a profound impact over time.

We’re launching it officially this week, at the police and justice service group conference in Edinburgh, where I’ll also be pleased to address our members, to talk about how we can make the most of our campaign.

There is no doubt that this is a very important campaign for UNISON. The lack of understanding that the public, media and politicians have about police staff means they cannot truly comprehend the critical role they play in our society.

Police staff are dedicated, knowledgeable, skilful, and vital for the success of any police force. And they’re a predominantly female workforce, made up of police community support officers (PCSOs), scenes of crime officers, 999 call takers, custody and detention officers, witness care officers, and so many more.

Of the total police workforce in England and Wales, 37% are police staff, while in Scotland it’s 28% – investigations and prosecutions would be nigh on impossible without them.

Yet police staff jobs are most at risk when budget cuts come in. Or forces resort to keeping posts vacant and replacing them with police officers. Of course, we need more police officers too, but having a depleted police staff workforce doesn’t help police officers, or communities.

So when the campaign gets going, look out for our videos and social media content – amplify it as much as you can, and then get involved by sending a greeting card to your MPs, MSPs and Senedd members, highlighting the important contributions of police staff to the police team. And make sure your branch orders campaign materials from UNISON.

Through this campaign, we can ensure there is real and lasting recognition and understanding of police staff, and a greater appreciation that to preserve safety in our communities, we must protect police staff roles.