Euro Football

Police union angry after chiefs freeze holiday requests during Euros


Police chiefs have told ­officers they cannot book holidays next year because Scotland is a Euro 2020 host nation.

Four football matches will be played in Glasgow next June and leave requests have been frozen while the national force assesses the impact on resources, according to an internal police memo.

Officers can usually book annual leave in the following year from June but they have been told their plans must be put on hold.

The Scottish Police Federation (SPF), which represents rank and file officers, has criticised the decision to delay allocation of annual leave.

Police Scotland previously delayed annual leave allocation in 2013, the year before the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

SPF General Secretary Callum Steele said it was January 2014 before all officers knew when they could take a holiday.

Mr Steele said the decision to delay annual leave allocation again is an “astonishing over-reaction” by police chiefs.

He said: “It demonstrates a casual disregard for the welfare needs of officers.

“Annual leave provides much-needed respite from a frenetic and high-stress job. Anything that adds uncertainty to the ability of officers to take leave with their family and friends is deeply unwelcome.

“Delay means officers will miss out on the best holiday deals available as well as creating stress, tension and upset within families.”

Mr Steele was also dismayed that the SPF was not consulted by police chiefs before they took the decision to delay annual leave allocation.

He said: “It’s disgraceful that SPF should learn about this from the press. Fundamentally, it points to the undeniable reality that the police service is completely stretched all of the time.

“Large-scale events are now part and parcel of civic life in Scotland. A police service that believes it can only deliver effective policing for these demands by continual disruption to police officers’ lives is not one that is adequately funded or blessed with an abundance of police officers.”

Among the major sporting events planned for next summer are Euro 2020, the European Short Course Swimming Championships and the Men’s Curling Championships. Music festivals TRNSMT and Rewind are also expected to put pressure of policing resources.

Mr Steele added: “Large-scale events bring millions into the economy – that benefit comes at a very high human cost and it’s long past the time this was recognised and addressed.”

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Williams said: “We are committed to ensuring our officers are given appropriate notice of leave allocation and plans to announce annual leave periods for 2020-21 remain in line with previous years.

“Police Scotland is the UK’s second largest service and our unique structure means we are strongly placed to police major events, allowing participants and spectators to enjoy them safely.”

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