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Six police jobs to go

AS MANY as six civilian members of staff at Lerwick police station could lose their jobs as part of the radical cost cutting measures to be implemented in the wake of the financial crisis across the UK.

Earlier this week, Northern Constabulary said that three jobs in Shetland were under threat, as a result of proposals to close Scalloway and Dunrossness police stations and reduce the opening hours at the Lerwick station.

But it now emerged that three further members of staff have been told that they could be made redundant should the force’s proposals to save £4.7 million across the highlands and islands region be approved in November.

Shetland member of the North Joint Police Board, councillor Allison Duncan, said he was appalled how the situation had been handled locally.

He said he had only learned of the real extent of potential job losses after distressed members of staff had met with him and fellow SIC councillor on the police board, Alastair Cooper.

“There are now four full-time and two part time jobs to go. We are rather annoyed that we were not informed about this beforehand.

“I am very disappointed to see any job losses, but we have to understand the reality of the financial situation we are in.

“However, this development now gives me grave concern because it means that police officers will now be doing administration duties, which means we will see fewer officers on the beat.

“This whole situation could have been handled better and there are questions that need to be answered,” Mr Duncan said.

Action inspector at Lerwick police station, Lindsay Tulloch said last night (Friday) that all seven support staff have been told that their jobs were under risk, but no redundancies have been confirmed.

He said the station needed fewer civilian staff as the Lerwick station’s opening hours were to be halved from 24 to twelve.

“As a result we need fewer resources. Every member of staff has been told that their jobs are at risk. Our priority is to continue with the same level of policing,” he said.

Saving could be either achieved by redundancies or through some full-time members of staff going part-time, he added.

Councillor Cooper will now press for answers when he attends a CoSLA conference on health and safety in Edinburgh, on Monday, which will also be attended by the police board’s chair and vice chairmen Norman Macleod and Ian Ross.