New opportunities created by single services.
Innovations in road safety, mental health and fire safety have been highlighted as part of a new independent report into police and fire reform.
The report has looked at how Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) have worked with partner bodies such as the NHS, Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS), community groups and each other since reform began in 2013.
The report found that partnership working focused on prevention was firmly embedded across both bodies and considered to be ‘business as usual’. It also highlighted a number of strong local examples of co-operation, including:
- Police Scotland working closely with the NHS to reduce the number of individuals in mental health difficulty taken unnecessarily to Accident and Emergency or custody
- Police and Fire teams working with SAS to teach young people to drive to reduce the likelihood of them being involved in accidents
- A community safety initiative to improve fire safety awareness among vulnerable people involving SFRS, Police Scotland and local housing and community teams.
Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said:
“This report clearly demonstrates some of the benefits of police and fire reform and the excellent partnership working in the community and health service in local areas to improve the safety of a number of vulnerable groups.
“The 2018-19 budget provides additional spending power of £15.5 million to allow SFRS to invest in service transformation, on top of the £21.7 million increase in the operational budget for service this year.
“We are also committed to protecting the police resource budget in every year of this Parliament – a boost of £100 million by 2021 and have continued police reform funding for a further year, with an investment of £31 million planned to support the implementation of the Policing 2026 strategy.
“As reform moves forward we will continue to learn lessons from the evaluation process to ensure both staff and the wider public feel the benefit of single police and fire services.”