Police Scotland begins consultation as it seeks to reduce comms staff numbers

SCOTLAND’S new single policing service has begun consultation with staff as it seeks to restructure its corporate communications function, in the wake of the recent merging of eight former forces into one.

Police Scotland came into effect on April 1 this year, following the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act, resulting in the merging of eight police forces and the Scottish Crime and Drugs Enforcement Agency into one organisation.

Says Police Scotland: “The service has more than 20,000 officers and staff and is now seeking to establish a single communications department that will support the needs of the service.”

Comms staff numbers are expected to be reduced by around a third, to be based at six locations across the country. The changes are likely to come into effect early next year.

Police Scotland adds: “[We] inherited ten different communications teams from eight locations across Scotland. The new structure proposes internal communications, engagement and news functions with news split into local policing communications hubs and a corporate media team. The service is also investing in digital media and internal communications disciplines.”

Interim director of corporate communications, Lucy Adamson, told allmediscotland.com: “The merger of ten policing organisations into one has represented one of the biggest changes to Scottish policing in a generation and having a single corporate communications function that supports the service and contributes to maintaining high levels of public confidence is critical.”

Says Police Scotland, it is facing budget cuts of more than £60 million in its first year.

Adamson continued: “Our primary focus has been designing a function that will effectively support the service; however, we will contribute to the savings required. There is significant work to be done in restructuring the department at the same time as supporting an organisation going through a huge change itself. Maintaining our resilience and building relationships with the media is a key priority for us and we are also investing significantly in online and internal communications. Relationships with the media are of course important but we also want to take advantage of the direct contact with the public that digital media offers.”