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Federation in probe over treatment of police officers

POLICE officers claim they are facing extreme working conditions during the Games, with scores of officers complaining to their representative body.

ON DUTY: But there have been claims about conditions for police working at the Games.
ON DUTY: But there have been claims about conditions for police working at the Games.

The Scottish Police Federation says it is looking into a number of complaints, as yet unsubstantiated, linked to the treatment of officers during Glasgow 2014, including allegations of some soiling themselves after not receiving appropriate toilet breaks.

It has been claimed the officers involved in these incidents have since resigned, but Police Scotland says it has not received any reports of this nature.

The Federation has also received reports of officers not receiving food breaks or being relieved of their duties when they should, as well as complaints over the length of shifts and officers standing for long hours in the heat without water.

One officer, who did not want to be named, told The Herald "morale has never been so low" within the force.

He also claimed officers are being given extremely short notice of their shifts, with some receiving calls late at night to be told they are working early the next morning.

Another officer, who also declined to be named, added he had received a memo from his bosses warning officers would face disciplinary action if they complain about the Games or their treatment to people outwith the force, including on social media sites.

Brian Docherty, chairman of the Federation, confirmed he was aware of claims of a WPC and PC soiling themselves and said the Federation was investigating.

However, he said the Federation has had no direct complaints from the officers involved because the issues had been reported by other staff.

He said: "If those individual officers have resigned, I would like to think their reasons for doing so will be revealed. But until we get specific detail on who was involved, where and when, we can't take that back to the force.

"The majority of complaints are being dealt with at a local level by our reps and are being resolved quickly.

"And we have had a few complaints whereby other officers have reported things and by the time we get to the officer in question, it's not quite as bad as was first thought.

"It is important people let us know if they see any wrongdoing and contact their local rep with specific details so we can take that back to the force."

Officers have also complained at the length of travel time getting to and from their posts, with one officer claiming he has to travel to three different points to get to and from work.

Mr Docherty said officers' travel time must be included in their shift.

He also said officers must not be moved from post to post throughout their shifts unnecessarily, adding: "There is no point in telling officers how to work the X-ray machine only for them to be moved to another position later. Logistically there has to be a reason for it and we are looking at whether or not people are being moved about unnecessarily."

The chairman added that, while the Federation was trying to address issues quickly during the Games, a proper examination of complaints would take place following Glasgow 2014 to see if lessons could be learned.

Superintendent Niven Rennie, president of the Association Of Scottish Police Superintendents, said he had been made aware of the allegations by the Federation.

However, he added: "With 29 years of police experience, I know police welfare and allowing officers comfort breaks is always pertinent in the planning of an operation.

"If officers have not been given their breaks, it will not have been deliberate."

He said he had never seen a memo warning officers about speaking negatively about their treatment and found it "quite unlikely" that was the case.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said the welfare of officers was a matter of importance to the force. She said staff have access to refreshments, including water.

She added: "We have had no report of any incident of this nature from any supervisor from any deployment or shift across the safety and security operation.

"Any officer who has a concern about their welfare should raise it immediately with supervisors or with the Scottish Police Federation."

Responding to concern over the memo allegedly issued to staff, the spokeswoman said: "Officers have been reminded about protocols on commenting on operational police activity on social media sites on and off-duty and to be mindful that any comment could impact on safety and security activity."

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