General News, Articles and Information from The POA North of the Border:


Scottish National Chairman


You will be aware by now that I am standing down from the position of Scottish National Chairman after the Annual Conference in May this year. I have to say that despite the significant difficulties faced by the Union over the years and decisions that have had to be made, the decision to stand down as Chairman has, in many ways, been the most difficult.

Recently, I inevitably reflected upon the past and began to realise what a great personal honour and privilege it has been to represent the SPOA and POA in different capacities, and to hold the office of Scottish National Chairman for such a long and rewarding time.

Here is a short résumé of my career with this great Union and SPS: I joined the Prison Service on 2nd October 1978 and since 1986 I have represented the Prison Officers Association on a local, national and international level in a variety of elected posts from Local Branch Official, Branch Chairman both at HMP Barlinnie (The Big Hoose). Thereafter I was elected to the NEC of the SPOA and subsequently served as Vice Chairman and finally, post-merger, serving for the past 14 years as Scottish National Chairman of the POA Scotland. During this period I also held the office of Scottish Prison Service Trade Union Side Chairman.

During my term of office I have been involved in making some difficult and some times very controversial decisions, and through the years have lost many valuable colleagues and friends but I will retain their memory and relish the times we had. But there have also been many highlights, in particular, seeing record investment in the service and new public sector prisons in the form of Low Moss and eventually Grampian coming to fruition.

The past 25 years have passed so very quickly, but I can honestly say I have enjoyed every minute of them - the good and the bad and I say that because that’s just the nature of being a trade union official, it all comes with the job. I find the amount of characters I have met and made friends with over my years absolutely astonishing, no more than my great friend and colleague, Derek Turner, a past General Secretary of the Union in Scotland, I admire him greatly for his long-standing commitment to the members he fought for and made sacrifices for over the years just as he did way back in 1986 at HMP Barlinnie when he convinced me to join the local branch committee. But it’s time to move on and it’s good to see new blood coming through at local and national level that assures me the Union is in good hands.

It would be remiss of me not to say thanks for all the support I have had over the years including the Scottish Prison Service, other trade unions, colleagues I have worked with from within the POA in particular my good friend ‘Old Tom’, and above all the Membership. It has been my privilege to serve you.

David Melrose Esq. MBE
Scottish National Chairman
POA Scotland