This Government has a clear vision for Scotland, one of a fair, equal and prosperous nation with opportunity for us all to thrive. Growing an economy that is strong and inclusive, putting local communities more in charge of the decisions that shape their lives and tackling inequality are central to us achieving this ambition. Clearly, our efforts to drive forward reform of our public services will be key to our success.
It is crucial that our approach to policing reflects and promotes the vision we have set out. The First Minister has confirmed that this Government will protect police budgets in real terms for the duration of the current parliament and that we will strengthen the accountability and improve the community focus of policing. By trusting the people of Scotland to have their say about priorities for our police service, we can provide confidence that their experience of community policing is as positive as it can be. By taking action to reduce crime and to address the disparity which exists within and across our communities when it comes to people's experiences of crime, we can deliver a fairer society. And by promoting the safety and wellbeing of communities across the country, we can create a Scotland which is attractive in terms of investment and opportunity, supporting us to deliver the inclusive growth that is necessary in order for our country to be a success.
I am confident that we are on the right track. Recorded crime is at a 41 year low, violent crime is down by more than half since 2006/07 and homicides are at their lowest since records began. It is important that we build on this progress, ensuring that every individual across Scotland experiences the benefits that come with having an effective police service.
The Strategic Police Priorities are key to us delivering this goal. The Priorities represent our high level ambition for what we want our police service to be. A service which carries the shared values of all of our public sector; a service which works at an international level to combat the threats and risks of modern times; a service that brings national consistency, coordination and specialist resource; and most importantly, a service that holds local policing at its heart - that has the support of local communities and that is focused on priorities which are relevant to, and serve the interests of, local people.
The current Strategic Police Priorities have now been in place for just over three years and have provided clear direction for the Scottish Police Authority and Police Scotland through their critical first years of operation. Now is the time to build on that experience and to develop a new set of Priorities which reflect our aspirations and expectations for the future.
The Priorities are an important part of the planning system for our police service and I encourage you to have your say.
Cabinet Secretary for Justice
Email: Daniel Couldridge, ScotPolicePriorities@gov.uk
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