Strategic police priorities: consultation analysis

External analysis report of the responses received to the consultation on the revised strategic police priorities.

1. Executive Summary

1.1 Background 

The Scottish Government has revised a previous set of Scottish Police Priorities (SPPs) to reflect significant developments and progress in operational delivery, emerging threats and the changing community needs. They also focus on anticipated future service demand.[1] The powers for setting these priorities are contained within the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012, alongside details of the overarching planning framework for policing in Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority (SPA).  A commitment to review the SPPs this year was made in the 2018-19 Programme for Government, and a refresh of the Scottish Police Authority and Police Scotland’s ‘Serving a Changing Scotland’, is due to take place next year.[2]

The current and future direction of Policing in Scotland is strategically driven by the Strategic Police Priorities which also set the direction for the SPA’s functions. The draft SPPs were created in consultation with a number of organisations, in order to ensure key partners had input in the early stages. 

The proposed new Strategic Police Priorities are:

  • Crime and Security – prioritises prevention, investigation, equality and human rights to support positive criminal justice outcomes, respond to current and emerging threats and maintain public order.   
  • Confidence – continues to inspire public trust by being ethical, open and transparent, evidencing performance against outcomes, and building on a positive reputation at a local, national and international level. 
  • Partnerships – works proactively with partners to maintain safe communities and support improved outcomes for individuals, increasing resilience and addressing vulnerability.  
  • Sustainability – adapts to present and plans for future social and economic circumstances, considering the environmental impact of policing and its operations. 
  • People – values, supports, engages and empowers a diverse workforce to lead and deliver high quality services.  
  • Evidence – uses evidence to develop services and addresses current and emerging demands, ensuring that the right capacity and skills are in place to deliver high performing and innovative services.

The Scottish Government ran a twelve-week consultation from 15 July until 4 October 2019 and attended twelve stakeholder meetings in order to gain feedback and insight on the SPPs from a wide audience including: local communities, individuals, local authorities, third sector organisations and local police divisions. Fifty-nine responses were received in total via the Citizen Space platform and a note of each of the twelve stakeholder meetings was produced for each.

The following report compiled by Pye Tait, an independent research agency, presents the combined findings from the consultation. Findings from the report will support the Scottish Government to consider what revisions to the SPPs may be required to ensure they have the right focus.

1.2 General findings from the consultation

1.2.1 The findings in relation to the SPPs

  • Positively received – the SPPs were received well by both individual respondents and organisations that replied to this consultation.
  • Most commented on – the most talked about SPPs throughout the consultation were Crime and Security (prevention key theme), Partnerships (collaboration key theme) and Confidence (local policing key theme).
  • Least commented on – the SPPs that respondents talked about the least in their responses were People (key themes of workforce wellbeing and training and support) and Sustainability (key themes of adapting to economic circumstances in terms of funding and delivering services).
  • Prevention – this was a key topic talked about by respondents, both individuals and organisations, in connection with the Crime and Security SPP. This was mentioned in the context of raising public confidence and reducing pressure on other services such as health and social.
  • Working together – the Partnerships SPP attracted a lot of attention as respondents, both individuals and organisations, liked the idea of the police working with communities and other agencies.
  • Localism - the word ‘local’ was mentioned throughout the consultation and respondents by both individuals and organisations. Respondents highlighted that the new set of SPPs did not include a specific priority on localism, as they had previously.  The main themes were around local service provision and visibility of police presence.
  • Lack of resource – both individuals and organisations highlighted the difficulties that the police experience regarding lack of resource. Individuals mentioned a lack of visibility of police in certain parts of Scotland due to lack of police resource. A more visible police presence across Scotland would be welcomed.

1.2.2 Additional Consultation Questions

  • Length of cycle for reviewing the SPPs – taking into consideration both the qualitative and quantitative results (see section 3 for information on the consultation methodology), the majority of respondents agreed with the proposed six-year timeframe as they see it as beneficial to implementing strategies and then tracking and analysing their performance.
  • Measurement - two key themes emerged with regards to measuring the SPPs impact: consultation and data.

1.2.3 Partial Equality Impact Assessment

  • There were mixed views and comments on the partial equality impact assessment. A key theme was the provision of further information in the form of data – crime statistics broken down by e.g. gender, ethnicity, age. It has been agreed that further development of the EQIA is required.



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