Conditions at some Scottish police stations an 'utter embarrassment', MSPS told

30 May 2019, 16:13 | Updated: 30 May 2019, 16:16


Working conditions for some of Scotland's police officers are an "utter embarrassment" with one station "held together with hazard tape", MSPs have heard.

Calum Steele, general-secretary of the Scottish Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, said the conditions breach health and safety obligations, with £300 million needed to bring them up to standard.

Giving evidence to Holyrood's Justice Sub-Committee on Policing, he said conditions in some areas are a "complete and utter embarrassment".

He said: "We have relatively modern buildings, we have new buildings and we have frankly decrepit buildings.

"The Paisley office is pretty much held together with black and yellow hazard tape. The Ayr office, I think, was probably carved out of asbestos.

"Even our relatively new buildings are falling into a state of disrepair because no money is being spent on maintenance.

"They look tired and they look shabby."

He added: "There are some fairly significant risks and dangers to the manner in which our buildings are slowly declining."

Mr Steele said there are leaks around electricity points and stairs.

He said the cost for Police Scotland and oversight body the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) bringing the police estate up to fire and building standards is £300 million.

He said: "The fact that the service and the authority know they have buildings that do not meet the fire and building regulations standards and still continue to operate them quite clearly shows that they are not meeting the health and safety obligations."

Mr Steele said Police Scotland needs more capital funding - used for buildings, cars, equipment and infrastructure such as IT - as it "doesn't have sufficient money provided to it".

The committee heard capital funding would need to be doubled to take the force from the bottom of those across the UK to mid-table on capital spending.

Police Scotland capital spending equates to £1,126 per employee compared to £10,857 per employee spent by the Met in London - a force of comparable size.

Mr Steele said the SPA is not fulfilling its function by failing to get to grips with the capital spending issue.