Draft Strategic Police Priorities for Scotland

Top level framework for what is expected of our police service in Scotland.

4. The Revised Strategic Police Priorities

While recognising that specific types of crime (such as those identified through the extensive consultation that Police Scotland undertake for the APP) are important to people and communities in Scotland, they are not the focus of the Strategic Police Priorities.

The revised Strategic Police Priorities have been developed to focus on the broader expectations that communities have for our police services. There is no set lifespan for the Priorities. However, we consider that they are likely to be in place for at least the medium term (3-5 years).

The six Priorities focus on discrete but closely linked themes. Taken together, they encapsulate both what we want from policing in Scotland and how we expect our police service to work.


Strategic Priority

Ensure that the needs of communities are understood and reflected in the planning and delivery of policing.


Policing must be carried out with the support of local communities throughout Scotland. Understanding and responding to the needs of those communities must therefore remain a core priority. We want local partners and communities to be able to work with local commanders to shape the delivery of services in their areas, ensuring they meet their needs and expectations. Local Authority Police Scrutiny Committees have a key role to play as do Community Planning Partnerships and Community Councils.

Localism represents what all communities across Scotland see and want from the police: police officers who will respond whenever there is a need in local areas; who work in partnership through our schools, community groups and local community initiatives; and whose presence reassures our communities on a daily basis.

We recognise that communities do not always have a traditional geographic basis and will instead often identify themselves through their shared values, characteristics or circumstances. Our police services need to be responsive to the needs of all these diverse communities.

When it comes to policing, we appreciate that what works and is right for a community in one part of Scotland won't necessarily work as well or be right in another. That is why it is crucial that local communities have a strong voice in the policing decisions which affect them.


Strategic Priority

Ensure the police service works to prevent crime and reduce fear of crime through partnership, communication, education, and innovation, placing particular focus on the need to address inequalities within and between communities.


Prevention is a key element of public service reform, changing the way we deliver services to create better outcomes for people in Scotland. For policing this means a focus on preventing and reducing the impact of crime on our communities, reducing inequalities and providing a more sustainable model of service delivery.

In particular, it is crucial that steps are taken to address the disparity within and across our communities when it comes to people's experiences of crime. We know that the risk of being the victim of a crime is higher for adults living in our most deprived communities and that our young people are more likely than others to experience crime. These problems must be addressed if we are to create the fairer, more equal and more prosperous Scotland to which we all aspire.

By shifting resources towards early intervention and prevention, efforts can be focused at a national, regional and local level in order to stop problems before they start. For example, this could be partly achieved by focussing on diverting individuals (particularly young people) from engaging in criminal activity. This approach allows us to use our resources more effectively, reducing the f j430839-03uture demand not only on the police service but on the range of other public services who are also involved in dealing with the wider effects of crime.

Communication, education and innovation must lie at the heart of the approach, whilst the appropriate involvement of the police in the planning, design and delivery of other public services is also key.


Strategic Priority

Focus policing on keeping people safe by tackling crime and responding to and investigating incidents effectively and efficiently.


Of course, responding to crime and other incidents when they occur is central to the role of our police service and it is clear that their efforts in this regard must remain a priority.

Detection rates for crime can vary significantly depending on where you live in the country and the nature of the crime that has been committed. Whilst it is right that the most serious crimes are prioritised over others, it is also important that all members of the public have assurance that the police will respond effectively whenever a crime has been committed and that victims and witnesses will be supported.

The demands on the police service are changing, including, for example, in relation to the nature of people's engagement with technology, the policing of public events, responding to reports of missing persons, working with other 'blue light' services in response to weather relate j430839-03d emergencies, and undertaking other proactive work to improve the safety and wellbeing of people, localities and communities.

The police must continue to offer a targeted, well planned and effective response to matters which require their support.

Collaborative Working

Strategic Priority

Ensure that the police service works collaboratively with partners at both a local and national level to deliver better outcomes for people in Scotland


All of our public services are facing new challenges. The changing needs of society and our collective determination to improve outcomes in what is a challenging financial environment means we must approach the planning and delivery of services differently.

We know that policing can have an impact on the achievement of wider public sector objectives in areas including health, housing, education and the economy. For example, Police Scotland are key contributors in Community Planning Partnerships and Child Protection Committees at a local level. It is crucial that the police work closely with all of their public sector partners and the third sector, both to improve their own effectiveness and to strengthen our public services more generally.

Efforts in this regard should not be limited to traditional policing activities. Instead, we must explore how the range of resources and assets available to the police can be used to achieve shared goals. This means avoiding duplication, sharing services where possible, working towards shared measures of success and working to deliver services in a way which is most integrated from the point of view of recipients. There is significant scope to build on existing partnerships and to develop new ones, resulting in more efficient and cost-effective ways of working.


Strategic Priority

Maintain public confidence in policing and inspire trust by being transparent, accountable and acting with integrity, fairness and respect.


It is essential that all of our public services are open, transparent and accountable, supporting people and communities to engage positively with them. When it comes to the police, Local Authority Police Scrutiny Committees have a key role to play, bringing together local elected representatives and police Commanders to set objectives, develop local police plans and ensure that local police services deliver.

Nationally, Police Scotland is accountable to the SPA. The SPA is, in turn, accountable to the Scottish Ministers and the Scottish Parliament. Other bodies, including Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland ( HMICS), the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner ( PIRC) and Audit Scotland also have a key role to play.

This principle of 'policing by consent' is central to our justice system. It is therefore critical that the SPA and Police Scotland work closely with all the relevant bodies to deliver the scrutiny and transparency that is necessary in order to maintain public confidence in policing.


Strategic Priority

Ensure the police service is able to take advantage of new opportunities and meet emerging threats and challenges.


The demands on our police service are constantly changing and the nature of crime does not remain static. Our police service must constantly seek to improve performance, transforming the way policing is delivered where that is necessary. Our approach to improvement must be based on robust evidence of "what works" and we must actively seek opportunities to maximise the potential of the police service's workforce, infrastructure and resources.

This requires an understanding of how future demands are likely to develop, enabling the police service to operate more effectively and efficiently by ensuring that the right resources, including officers and staff with the right skills and capability, are deployed proportionately in the right way and at the right time.

In order to achieve this, we expect our police service to be resilient, flexible, responsive and efficient.


Email: Daniel Couldridge, ScotPolicePriorities@gov.uk

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