Police Scotland and Scottish Government meeting: April 2024

Minutes from the meeting between the Justice Secretary and the Chief Constable of Police Scotland on 30 April 2024.

Attendees and apologies

  • Angela Constance MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Home Affairs
  • Jo Farrell, Chief Constable of Police Scotland
  • Jane Connors QPM, Deputy Chief Constable, Police Scotland
  • Don McGillivray, Director of Safer Communities, Scottish Government
  • Scott McNeil, Police Division, Scottish Government (note)

Items and actions

Hate crime

CC Farrell and DCC Connors gave an update following implementation of the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act 2021 on 1 April. After the large initial spike in reports, these are settling down into more of a business as usual level. 87% of officers have now completed hate crime training. Taking into consideration officers who are currently absent or unavailable, CC Farrell is of view that this is reaching the upper achievable limit. DCC Connors noted officers can revisit elements of the training where required.

Police Scotland are preparing guidance on hate crime to go out to consultation in the coming days. CC Farrell anticipates this will be formally discussed at the next SPA Board meeting on 23 May. The guidance takes into consideration lessons learned since implementation as well as recommendations from the College of Policing.

In relation to non-crime hate incidents (NCHIs) the Chief Constable acknowledged the need to have clarity on the recording of NCHIs for both officers and the public and highlighted the importance of recording the vulnerability aspect to protect vulnerable people. The updated guidance will help officers navigate through this and once published will provide more clarity and reassurance to the public.

The Cabinet Secretary thanked the Chief Constable for how Police Scotland have positively managed this, acknowledging the impact the implementation of the Act has had during the initial period.

Criminal justice system

Following on from previous conversations with the Cabinet Secretary and officials, CC Farrell raised significant concerns about inefficiencies in the criminal justice system and the impact this is having, particularly on victims as well as the availability of officer resources.

CC Farrell shared examples of this impact, including that in two months in Glasgow there was an average figure of almost 2000 re-citations per month for civilian witnesses due to trials not going as scheduled; that in one day in Perth Sheriff Court recently 40 officers were required to be in attendance; and that overall less than 1 in 10 officers called to courts provide evidence on that day.

While acknowledging improvements in specific areas and the range of current initiatives, CC Farrell emphasised the need for whole system change to improve victim experience and resolve the inefficiencies. CC Farrell is of the view that the changes required to improve case management are around behaviours, leadership, performance management, visibility of data and improved accountability for all agencies in the criminal justice system.

The Cabinet Secretary acknowledged the Chief Constable’s concerns, the impact this is having on all those engaged with the justice system and the need for a whole systems approach.

There was discussion on how the Justice Board and Criminal Justice Board could be forums to deliver this change and on the role of the judiciary. The Cabinet Secretary agreed to explore options further, particularly the role and approach of the Justice Board and the best means of engaging with the judiciary.

Police officer and staff pay

The Cabinet Secretary noted the Scottish Government have received the police staff pay claim. The police officer pay claim has not yet been submitted. The Cabinet Secretary highlighted that the Scottish Government are encouraging organisations to await publication of the 2024/25 public sector pay metrics before commencing negotiations.

Revised model of policing

DCC Connors gave an overview on progress towards a new target operating model. The intent is to have a draft revised model by June and introduced in October. DCC Connors noted that Police Scotland are engaging with the staff associations throughout this process and have a positive relationship.

DCC Conners gave an update on recruitment with further intakes planned in May and June. CC Farrell highlighted how positive Police Scotland, and Scotland generally, is viewed across the UK and that more could be done to improve recruitment from outside Scotland, including transfer of police officers from other forces.

The Cabinet Secretary noted that officer numbers will continue to be a focus for Parliament in the months ahead.


Telephone: 0300 244 4000 

Police Division
Scottish Government
1st Floor Rear
St Andrews House
Regent Road

Back to top