I am very proud of Scotland's policing system and the dedicated officers and staff who work tirelessly in our communities. In partnership with other services, policing supports the delivery of a number of the national outcomes set by the Scottish Government, notably that 'We live in communities that are inclusive, empowered, resilient and safe'.
The Strategic Police Priorities (SPPs) set the overarching framework for policing in Scotland, reflecting the ambition within the national outcomes and the 'Justice in Scotland: Vision and Priorities' for a safe, just and resilient Scotland. It is vital that we develop this framework in partnership with policing, other partners, and with Scotland's communities and those who represent them.
This document consults on six draft SPPs, which set the high level direction for the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) and Police Scotland. As well as maintaining Police Scotland, promoting policing and holding the Chief Constable to account, the SPA provides Scotland's Forensic Service.
Implementation of the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012 has made significant changes to the way in which policing is delivered and national capabilities within the service have been significantly enhanced. Reform has enabled policing in Scotland to continue to perform well in spite of significant budget cuts. Evidence shows that recorded crime has fallen by 35% since 2008-09, and the 2017-18 Scottish Crime and Justice Survey found that the majority of adults said the police were doing a good or excellent job.
Following our commitment in the 2018-19 Programme for Government, the time is right for this review. The current SPPs have now been in place for nearly 3 years, during which time the policing system has continued to develop. Leadership and governance has been strengthened in the SPA and Police Scotland. Implementation of the ten year policing strategy Serving a Changing Scotland is delivering major transformational change that will address emerging and future challenges and will ensure that effective partnership working supports the most vulnerable in our society.
The Scottish Government has supported policing by protecting the police revenue budget during the lifetime of this Parliament, to the tune of £100 million, and provides dedicated reform funding to help the service continue to evolve. We increased the police capital budget by 52% in the 2019-20 budget settlement.
The draft SPPs reflect current priorities and also focus on anticipated future demands, with a proposed lifespan of six years.
I encourage individuals, communities and organisations to respond to this consultation. Your voice will be key to ensuring the final SPPs reflect the diverse needs of our communities, and meet our ambitions for the service.
Cabinet Secretary for Justice
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