Scottish Police Authority and Scottish Government meeting: January 2024

Minutes from the meeting between the Justice Secretary and the Chair of the Scottish Police Authority on 18 January 2024.

Attendees and apologies

  • Angela Constance MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Home Affairs
  • Martyn Evans, Chair, Scottish Police Authority
  • Lynn Brown, Chief Executive, Scottish Police Authority
  • Murray McVicar, Police Division, Scottish Government 
  • Lynsey McKean, Police Division, Scottish Government (note)

Items and actions

Budget and operating model

Reflecting on the budget settlement announced on 19 December, the Cabinet Secretary asked the Chair to set out his plans for oversight of Police Scotland’s development of an operating model for the new financial year. The Chair invited the Chief Executive of SPA to set out their plan. Ms Brown explained that a working group is being established, the objective of which is to consider and progress the new model of policing as work is underway. A Terms of Reference will be shared with the SPA Board on 22 February. The Chair reflected on his priorities, setting out that reforming the organisational culture and building a new model of policing must go hand in hand. He said he is also focused on reconciling a sustainable police service within budget, recognising the important role forensics and technology can play, and ensuring a strong community policing presence.

Deputy Chief Constable (DCC) recruitment

The Chair noted the upcoming DCC recruitment and the arrangements in place to take that forward. The closing date has been extended to 31 January in recognition of the fact that there are now two vacancies to fill, since DCC Graham announced in early January his decision to retire. The rest of the timetable remains unchanged, with interview dates on 27 and 28 February. The selection panel will be chaired by Mr Evans and will include the Chief Constable, Alasdair Hay (SPA Member) and Uzma Khan (independent panel member). Craig Naylor, HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary in Scotland will be an advisor to the panel. The Cabinet Secretary will be kept appraised of developments as the recruitment exercise comes to a conclusion.

Purpose/objective of bilateral and trilateral meetings

The Cabinet Secretary and the Chair discussed the purpose and value of the regular bilateral and trilateral meetings, (which are a three way meeting with the Cabinet Secretary, the Chief Constable and the Chair of SPA). It was agreed that these meetings are extremely important in terms of maintaining relationships on a basis of trust and facilitating open and honest conversations on key policing matters, while respecting and protecting the individual roles of each part of the system. The Cabinet Secretary and the Chair agreed there should be a move to proactively publish the agenda and minutes of the bilateral and trilateral meetings. The Chair agreed to discuss with the Chief Constable her views on the format of trilateral meetings and also the proactive publication of minutes. 


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