THE first major staff survey of Police Scotland will make “very uncomfortable reading”, according to the body that represents rank-and-file officers.

Brian Docherty, chairman of the Police Federation, said the increasingly politicised nature of policing, added to a “media frenzy” and cuts to pay and conditions, had left parts of policing “at breaking point”.

His comments came as pressure mounted on the force to publish the results of the survey, which closed two months ago.

Scottish Labour said full transparency was needed so that “the big problems” faced by officers and staff could be addressed.

The single force, which was formed in April 2013, has been under constant scrutiny in recent months following controversies, including about its stop and search policy and the revelation that officers in the Highlands were routinely carrying guns.

Police Scotland was also heavily criticised last month following the deaths of 25-year-old Lamara Bell and John Yuill, 28, following a crash on the M9. The couple lay in their crashed car for three days after a call to police about the incident was not properly logged.

Chief Constable Sir Stephen House made a public apology over the case, and a review is under way into how calls are handled across the force. The case has also been referred to the country’s Police Investigations and Review Commissioner.

The National understands that there is expectation among the rank and file that the survey results will highlight particular discontent among response staff, comprising both police officers and civilians.

Cuts to staff numbers, uncertainty about the future, frequent changes to rotas and the consequent disruption to family life are believed to be the main areas of concern.

Docherty said his members “deserve more recognition” and had “sacrificed a great deal”.

He added: “We know our members are working harder and longer than ever, face greater disruption than ever and that in parts of the service they are at breaking point.

“We also know that policing in Scotland has undergone the most monumental reform and against a backdrop of austerity, pension reform real-terms wage deflation and a relentless media frenzy – we expect the staff survey will make for very uncomfortable reading.

“We can’t recall any other body being expected to publish its internal reports, but given the increased politicised nature of policing in Scotland we won’t be surprised that the usual commentators will use this as another stick with which to beat what is by any measure an excellent public service.”

Docherty called for officers to be “given the chance to catch their breath.”

A source close to the federation said constant criticism of the force was having a “morale-sapping” impact on officers.

Scottish Labour’s Graeme Pearson, a former deputy chief constable of Strathclyde Police, said officers were doing their best under difficult circumstances, and blamed the situation on the Scottish Government and the leadership at Police Scotland.

He said: “Cuts to civilian staff numbers and budgets mean the force is doing more with less. That’s unsustainable.

“If the Chief Constable and the SNP Justice Secretary Michael Matheson really valued the opinions of officers and civilian staff, they would publish the results of this survey without delay.

“The fact that it has taken so long is not acceptable.”

A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said the results of the survey were being “analysed by an independent organisation”, and “as planned” would be published “as soon as possible”.

She added: “The engagement survey generated a high percentage of responses from both officers and staff. The survey is the biggest of its kind and the first since Police Scotland began.

“We look forward to working with all our employees as we go forward, taking into account any changes which may be needed.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The staff survey is a matter for Police Scotland, which is accountable to the Scottish Police Authority, not ministers.

“It is a long-standing principle of fundamental importance in Scotland that the police operate without political interference, and is one which was backed in the Scottish Parliament across party lines with the creation of the single service itself.”

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