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Change is difficult, police chief tells unions

POLICE unions have been told that "change is difficult" and reform "will impact some people more than others", the Scottish Police Authority has heard.

Police Scotland presented its first corporate strategy to the SPA in Inverness yesterday, outlining a programme of cost savings and voluntary redundancies.

The strategy praises the "incredible resilience" of staff and acknowledges that Police Scotland has not always explained reform in a "timely, relevant and transparent fashion".

Addressing the SPA, Deputy Chief Constable Neil Richardson said: "Change is difficult and there are inevitably alterations that will impact some people more than others. I think we need to be honest about that and this document seeks to try and do that.

"I should say, though, that as part of the stakeholder consultation I did meet with the staff associations and the unions and we have started that dialogue."

Unison Scotland has said it will ballot police members over control room closures, the first of which is due to take place in Dumfries with the loss of 34 jobs.

Chief Constable Sir Stephen House said: "Sometimes the change that is being delivered is bad news, and the reality is people just don't like to hear that.

"But the minute that was the case we had in place a communications strategy in the weeks running up to that to inform all those impacted by it as soon as possible."

The strategy identifies a budget gap of £68.2 million in the coming financial year but it has only identified £58.4m of cost reductions. The projected £10m shortfall could be around five times bigger if the "worst case scenario" of missed targets and pay inflation emerges.

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