8. Police Scotland
Police Scotland work in partnership with other Responsible Authorities and Duty to Cooperate Agencies to provide effective and efficient MAPPA management of RSOs and Other Risk of Serious Harm individuals. This is achieved through consistent practice, enhancing and developing new and existing partnerships to manage the inherent risks and challenges posed by these individuals.
Police Scotland's response to the policing of Registered Sex Offenders during the COVID-19 pandemic has remained unchanged. Sex Offender Policing Units have continued to police sex offenders in the community using a risk based approach to physical contacts to protect staff and the public, and limit the spread of infection. Police Scotland's National ViSOR Unit and Sex Offender Policing Units have maintained a permanent presence within the Police estate, ensuring continued access to the secure ViSOR network and business as usual practices in the recording and sharing of information with MAPPA partners and other relevant agencies.
Ensuring the Sex Offender Policing Unit staff are supported and provided with the required knowledge and tools to effectively carry out their role is crucial to the continued identification and mitigation of risk and keeping the communities of Scotland safe. Although initially impacted by restrictions on travel and gatherings, risk assessed, socially distanced, training continues to be delivered at the Scottish Police College. Working with Justice Scotland partners, Police Scotland developed an online platform to deliver risk assessment training, an essential tool in the policing of offenders.
Police Scotland continue to exploit technological advancements in support of Sex Offender Policing and the use of Remote Monitoring Software (RMS) and Triage Devices to monitor the online activity of offenders with relevant prevention orders is embedded in daily business. Advancement in RMS technology during 2021 has resulted in a 100% increase in its deployment and continues to provide real time monitoring, behavioural analysis and risk assessment.
Online offending and online facilitated offending remains a high priority for Police Scotland and they continue to explore technological opportunities to tackle these behaviours. It is important to note that the use of technology does not replace conventional sex offender policing methods, but supports and enhances established practices.
The use of technology has not only ensured business has continued through these difficult times, but has also identified improvements in efficiency which can be maintained following the removal of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
Police Scotland National Systems Support
Police Scotland National Systems Support (NSS) also provides support to every Local Authority, Scottish Government Mental Health Division and SPS in their access to, and use of ViSOR. Within NSS, support is provided by a Police Sergeant and a National System Supervisor. Further support is provided by the Head of NSS, National System Manager and Administrator assistance. Police Scotland ICT also provide additional technical support in deploying, maintaining and updating ViSOR terminals across Scotland.
Following amendments and discussion, the ViSOR National Standards were signed off in November 2020. NSS continue to support Responsible Authorities in discussion and amendment of the ViSOR Scottish Standards which have been signed off by Police Scotland, SPS and Health.
The support provided by NSS is primarily focused on promoting and facilitating ViSOR usage across the Responsible Authorities and includes, but is not limited to:
- the provision and delivery of accredited bespoke ViSOR training for all Scottish users;
- regularly meeting with Local Authority ViSOR users to discuss current issues in relation to ViSOR and provide advice and support at a local level in an effort to increase ViSOR usage;
- manage and coordinate all Scottish ViSOR change requests from initiation to implementation providing appropriate support and advice as required throughout, including facilitation of Home Office User Acceptance Testing; and
- facilitate and support the setting of nationally agreed Standards for Scottish individuals managed under MAPPA to be read and adhered to in conjunction with the ViSOR National Standards.
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