Scottish Police Authority and Scottish Government meeting: March 2024

Minutes from the meeting between the Justice Secretary and the Chair of the Scottish Police Authority on 28 March 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
  • John Somers, Deputy Director, Police Division, Scottish Government 
  • Lynsey McKean, Police Division, Scottish Government (note)

Items and actions


The Cabinet Secretary welcomed the Chair and the Chief Executive to the meeting. Noting the full agenda (set out below), she asked the Chair to speak to matters he wished to update her on. 

Revised model of policing 

The Chair spoke about the mechanisms in place to oversee the review of a revised model of policing. He reflected on the energy of the management team and the impressive start of the Chief Constable, noting the reform agenda is being very much owned by Police Scotland.  

The programme of work aims to bring what were previously disparate parts of the organisation together, for example, operational policing, workforce, estates and finance to look at the model of policing as one vision and to develop a route map of how that vision can holistically be delivered. Organisational wellbeing and culture are a key component of this vision, and the Chair is keen to involve the appropriate staff associations in those discussions.  

The Cabinet Secretary reflected on the positive progress. She was supportive of looking at the policing model holistically, while underlining the importance of restoring and maintaining officer numbers to agreed levels. She will be appraised of progress at her next meeting with the Chief Constable. 

Mental health and policing 

The Cabinet Secretary asked for the Chair’s view on progress. He considered that there had been a considerable sea change on this agenda, setting out there is a collective will to better support both the police and those who make mental health distress calls to the Police. He noted the multi-agency work being taken forward by health boards, Police Scotland, the Scottish Police Authority and the Scottish Government. He expressed his confidence that we were now moving in the right direction to make the change required.

The Cabinet Secretary thanked the Chair for the work his organisation was doing to maintain momentum and drive forward change. The Cabinet Secretary will maintain a close overview of progress over the coming months and will seek an update from the Chief Constable and the Chair at forthcoming meetings as required.

Hate crime 

The Chair spoke to the Cabinet Secretary about the operational readiness of Police Scotland in advance of the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act 2021 coming into force on 1 April. He reflected on the political and media debate, and how this can have an adverse effect on the image and role of policing. He noted that it can also hamper the efforts of Police Scotland in responding to allegations of hate crime in a proportionate manner. He highlighted further clear messaging would help to clear up the misinformation in circulation surrounding the legislation. The Cabinet Secretary spoke to the work underway on the matters the Chair raised and highlighted the importance of the quality assurance process around training in Police Scotland. The Chair agreed and said he would seek clarity on that matter.  


Telephone: 0300 244 4000 

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

Back to top