Draft Strategic Police Priorities for Scotland - Consultation Analysis Report

An analysis report for the recent consultation on Strategic Police Priorities.

Executive Summary


1. In September 2015, the Scottish Government set out its intention to work with members of the public, communities and elected representatives to review our national priorities for policing. These national priorities are set under the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012 (the Act) and are more commonly referred to as the Strategic Police Priorities. The Strategic Police Priorities provide the top level framework for what is expected of our police service. Taken together, they set the tone for the planning of police services in Scotland. They are not intended to direct specific areas of operational policing activity but rather are intended to give a broader strategic direction to Police Scotland and the SPA.

2. The current Priorities were set in 2013 in the context of the creation of a new national police service and police authority and their review provided an opportunity to ensure Scotland's approach to policing is truly reflective of the needs of communities across the country. To aid that dialogue, a formal consultation paper presented a set of draft revised Priorities which were informed by the wide range of discussions taken forward as part of an initial phase of engagement with key stakeholders during late 2015 and early 2016. The Priorities focussed on six themes:

  • Localism
  • Prevention
  • Response
  • Collaborative working
  • Accountability
  • Adaptability

3. This report provides analysis of the issues raised by individuals and organisations through that consultation exercise.

Consultation Overview

4. The consultation was launched on 22 June 2016 and closed on 16 August 2016.

5. The consultation was based around three questions which asked respondents to offer comments on:

  • Whether the draft Priorities summed up their ambitions for the police service in Scotland;
  • Whether they agreed that the draft Priorities reflected the needs of their local community or the communities they serve; and
  • Whether they had any additional views to share on the impact assessments published alongside the draft Priorities.

6. A total of 110 written responses were received, with most responses submitted online via the Citizen Space consultation hub. 27 responses were received from individual members of the public, whilst 83 responses were submitted by organisations [1] . Responding organisations included:

  • local authorities and affiliated organisations;
  • victim support and interest groups;
  • other public bodies;
  • various other general interest groups and third sector organisations; and
  • bodies involved directly with policing in Scotland, including Police Scotland, the Scottish Police Authority ( SPA), the Scottish Police Federation ( SPF), and Unison Police Staff Scotland.

7. Feedback was also gathered through a series of local engagement events and meetings with various interest/representative groups held to obtain additional views.

Analysis of responses

8. Analysis of responses was supported by social researchers within the Scottish Government's Justice Analytical Services. The analysis process considered responses submitted by respondents in their entirety (as many comments covered or were supplied in relation to all three questions). Key themes raised by respondents were then drawn out, although other points made less frequently were also taken into consideration.

9. The key findings from the analysis are briefly outlined below and presented in more detail in the main body of this report.

Main Findings

  • Responses to the consultation indicated that the majority of respondents support the principles or message behind each Priority in general, although it was common for respondents to caveat this by saying that one or more (or sometimes all) Priorities needed to be expanded upon to be fully comprehensive or to cover a particular issue of interest to them.
  • Respondents generally recognised that the Priorities were intended to be strategic, and so a frequent point was raised that ultimately how they are translated into actions through the SPA Strategic Plan, Annual Police Plan and Local Police Plans would be crucial.
  • Respondents highlighted the alignment between the draft Priorities and other local and national initiatives, with several indicating that the principles underpinning the draft Priorities reflected their own organisation's objectives, strategies and the principles which inform their work. The "Localism", "Prevention" and "Collaborative Working" Priorities were particularly welcomed.
  • Respondents also commonly recognised the relationship between each of the Priorities and that satisfying one would be both influenced by and depend upon the extent to which other Priorities were delivered.
  • It was widely noted that the success of the Priorities would depend on how they are implemented at local and national level, and that effective delivery would depend on a range of factors, including: sufficient resources; on-going engagement with a wide range of individuals, groups and communities; and the ability to tailor policing approaches according to the needs, ambitions and priorities of (local) communities. The importance of partnership working, including sharing knowledge, best practice and agreed (local) approaches to tackle complex social issues were also cited as being crucial for the delivery of the Priorities.
  • A number of respondents identified that meeting local needs and providing a service which is responsive to local circumstances is not in conflict with providing a consistent service on a nationwide basis. Several also highlighted that enhanced local scrutiny would support the "Localism" Priority, whilst others noted the importance of having robust data and clear measures of success or progress as being key to having an accountable service.
  • Several respondents mentioned the importance of the police responding to all incidents in a robust and efficient manner, and that there was a need for consistent service levels whilst taking into account local sensitivities. Respondents also recognised the need for the police to be able to respond to new and emerging threats, but highlighted that changes in approach should be clearly communicated to delivery partners who might be impacted.

Next Steps

10. The views and information submitted as part of this consultation have been considered as part of our review and used to inform a revised set of Strategic Police Priorities which will be published and laid before the Scottish Parliament in accordance with the requirements of the Act.


Back to top