The President of Eurocop has slammed the “warm words” bestowed on officers in Scotland who have faced years of assaults, insufficient PPE, crumbling buildings and inadequate pay rises.
Calum Steele, also General Secretary of the Scottish Police Federation, spoke out after officers were injured in Glasgow on Saturday night (15 May) when thousands celebrated football club Rangers winning the league.
Three officers were hurt during the disorder which saw colleagues attacked by missiles and flares at George Square.
Calum said: “Police officers in the west of Scotland had bones broken, lost teeth and sustained a multitude of other injuries as they faced (what was for many) the worst violence in their 20 odd years of policing.
“Today they received warm words. Warm words which fall on the back of well over half a decade of cuts; half a decade which has seen the police service cut to the quick, and half a decade that has left the police service with some of the most dated equipment anywhere by comparison.
“Half a decade which has seen essential training effectively abandoned, leaving a looming operational crisis. Half a decade that had seen more spent on repairing cars than replacing them. Half a decade that has seen our buildings crumbling. Half a decade that has seen closure of more police stations and premises than at any time in my 28 odd years’ service.”
Speaking on Twitter, Calum hit out at the “dog’s breakfast of messaging that often concentrated on guidance whilst ignoring the limitations of legislation” during the pandemic. Officers had to deal with the fall out of politicians supporting some gatherings whilst condemning others, he said.
He added: “They had to deal with an absence of PPE and absence of testing whilst being sent into homes to break up gatherings – all the while there was zero effort to evaluate the risks they were facing, and generating.
“At the beginning of this year the risks police officers face, and the racing certainty they were exponentially exposes to coronavirus risks and transmission, was ignored, and they were not prioritised for vaccination. They still aren’t.
“In February, SOME police officers were offered 1% in their pay as a demonstration of how ‘valued’ they were. Others weren’t deemed worthy of even that! Today they received warm words.”
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf had said on Sunday: “My full support to police officers who put in an incredible shift yesterday in (very) difficult circumstances. Absolutely disgraceful that they were subjected to the kind of thuggery we saw last night.”