Glasgow & West Scotland

Police Scotland told to remedy 'asbestos issue'

Asbestos

Police Scotland has been told to take "remedial action" over the presence of asbestos in some of its buildings.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) served the force with an improvement notice following inspections at four sites in Glasgow earlier this year.

The issue was discussed at a Scottish Police Authority meeting on Wednesday.

Police Scotland said it was taking the appropriate action to resolve the issue and was working closely with the HSE, staff organisations and unions.

The force confirmed that it had received an improvement notice in relation to the management of asbestos following an inspection of some local divisional offices.

'Action plans'

A spokeswoman said: "Immediate action has been taken to address any site specific issues, and the service is also working closely with staff associations and trade unions to take forward the necessary action."

John Gillies, director of People and Development with Police Scotland, added: "We take the health and safety of our staff very seriously, and are working with unions, staff associations and the HSE to develop and deploy the appropriate action plans in relation to the management of asbestos.

"We are committed to providing a safe working environment for our officers, staff and members of the public and are fully co-operating with the HSE to ensure the appropriate action is taken to achieve this."

A spokeswoman for the HSE confirmed that its officers had identified issues with asbestos at Police Scotland premises.

She said: "During inspections of Police Scotland premises, HSE found inadequate arrangements in relation to the management of asbestos and an Improvement Notice was served requiring remedial action to be taken.

"Further visits will be paid to assess compliance."

The issue was the subject of a report on Thursday to the Scottish Police Authority (SPA), the body which oversees Police Scotland.

'Areas of improvement'

The report stated: "In early February 2016, the Health and Safety Executive undertook visits to four Police Scotland premises.

"During these visits, the HSE identified areas of improvement that were required across a number of Health and Safety and Estate related matters.

"Police Scotland requires to provide an appropriate response to the HSE by 11 April 2016."

The report stated that Police Scotland held a meeting with HSE on 2 March to further discuss the issue after which a steering group, chaired by Asst Chief Constable Bernard Higgins, was set up to work towards a solution.

The report said that "further inspection work" had been carried out by Police Scotland and SPA health and safety teams.

Any improvement work identified will be "taken in hand", the report said.

Asbestos is heat and flame resistant material that was once widely used in construction.

Its was progressively prohibited in the UK from the mid-1980s onwards on health grounds after evidence emerged linking it to cancers and lung disease.

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