Chapter 2 Introduction
Policing in Scotland is delivered primarily by the following eight forces (Figure 1) and the Scottish Police Services Authority ( SPSA). Force areas vary in size, each covering a unique mix of urban and rural communities with very different policing needs. In addition, other forces operate in Scotland as part of the UK Government provision, such as the Ministry of Defence Police, British Transport Police and the Civil Nuclear Constabulary. The Scottish Government also has arrangements with the Serious and Organised Crime Agency ( SOCA). This figure illustrates current force boundaries.
Figure 1. Policing context 1
2.1 On 23 May 2008, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice in Scotland, Mr Kenny MacAskill, announced that he had asked HMICS to conduct an independent review of policing in Scotland, and to report on this with recommendations by the end of December 2008.
2.2 This request was made both to address the points below, and in response to the Justice Committee's report of 24 January 2008 into the Effective use of Police Resources2 and specifically recommendation 4 thereof which was as follows:
Within the lifetime of this Parliament the Scottish Government should initiate an independent review of the role and responsibilities of the police in Scotland, informed by the Committee's report.
Terms of reference
2.3 The remit given by the Cabinet Secretary was as follows:
To review the roles and responsibilities of police forces in Scotland with the aim of ensuring:
1. that all Scotland's communities have equal access to expert and specialist policing and to the resources necessary to investigate major crime, whenever they need it;
2. that the delivery of such policing responsibilities does not divert resources away from visible policing in communities;
3. in pursuance of this to identify policing responsibilities which might more effectively be delivered nationally, regionally, or by collaboration between forces;
4. and to make recommendations for the organisation, governance and accountability which best supports the delivery of those policing responsibilities.
2.4 These terms of reference, and the associated timescale, have focused our work towards a short, technical review on particular aspects of policing service delivery, rather than an all-encompassing review of policing in Scotland. The issue of re-organising the present eight force structure was also beyond our remit.
2.5 The review was commissioned by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice and is being treated as advice to Scottish Ministers. Decisions regarding implementation of any part thereof are therefore a matter for Scottish Ministers.
2.6 In order to make informed decisions, particularly in relation to points 3 and 4 of the terms of reference, we needed to collect robust data on how police organisations in Scotland currently provide services. We used a variety of approaches to collect this information.
2.7 In particular, we felt it was important to establish a shared understanding of the broader issues, including the strengths and weaknesses of policing across Scotland, prior to instigating any debate about the need for, or form of, any possible solutions. We therefore undertook a series of workshops
in which senior members of staff in police organisations across Scotland had the opportunity to comment on matters relevant to the review. All Scottish police forces, police authority conveners, the SPSA, and other bodies, including representatives from ACPOS, the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents ( ASPS) and Scottish Police Federation ( SPF) took part.
2.8 In addition to the workshops, we collected data through a number of other workstreams, including:
- reviewing relevant documentation, e.g. written submissions from forces, the ACPOS capacity and capability review, previous HMICS thematic inspection reports, police authority/board papers and minutes;
- a structured stakeholder consultation (specific questions were sent to a range of partner agencies and agencies with regular dealings with the police service);
- interviews with other stakeholders (a series of structured discussions with other services operating in the policing environment in Scotland);
- an in-service survey (an on-line questionnaire available to police officers, staff and police board/ authority members); and
- an international questionnaire (a structured questionnaire to governments of countries with 'similar' policing environments).
2.9 The findings of the stakeholder consultation and in-service survey are presented in appendices to this report. In respect of the international questionnaire, the complexity of the information provided has prevented us from completing a comparative analysis in the time available. It is hoped that HMICS will be able to feed this in to whatever work arises as a result of this review.
2.10 We also established an advisory group, which allowed the review team to discuss emerging findings with various stakeholders and two independent members appointed by the Cabinet Secretary. The group, whose membership is given in Appendix G, met three times during the period of the review.
2.11 However, despite this wide-ranging approach to gathering evidence, we were unable to meet all the expectations of the terms of reference, due primarily to a lack of data in two important areas:
- information on the relative costs of delivering police services through different delivery routes; and
- a lack of agreed standards on how police services should be delivered.
2.12 We strongly believe that agreed standards of service delivery and information on the costs required to meet those standards are necessary to make an objective assessment of the most appropriate delivery mechanisms for different police services.
2.13 Given this lack of information and the importance of risk to the terms of reference, what we have done in this report is describe:
- the different risks facing the police services in Scotland and how these are currently assessed - i.e. how police prioritise what they need to do to keep us safe (chapter 3);
- how the police services which are intended to manage and reduce those risks are currently delivered (chapter 4);
- the impact that the lack of standards has on current policing (chapter 5);
- how the police are currently equipped to deliver the services we need (chapter 6); and
- the current governance arrangements for ensuring that police services are properly accountable (chapter 7).
2.14 We then make recommendations for the mechanisms which in our view need to be put in place to enable decisions on points 3 and 4 of the terms of reference to be made.
2.15 Despite the limited scope of this review we believe that the findings of this review and its recommendations offer opportunities for significant improvements in policing across all aspects
of its delivery.
2.16 This review was directed by HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary for Scotland Paddy Tomkins, QPM. A review team was assembled in July 2008. It consisted of a range of professionals from various bodies directly or otherwise involved in delivering, inspecting or auditing policing, as well as from the Scottish Government who, for the purposes of the review, were responsible only to HMCICS. The team was also greatly assisted by other staff from HMICS.
The national and international context
2.17 The work of the police service in Scotland does not, of course, take place in a vacuum. As revealed by very recent events, like the economic downturn or terrorist attacks, global incidents and events can have a significant and immediate impact on local communities. These can generate both local and national policing issues. Within a matter of days in some cases, the attitude of a generation towards matters of risk, governance and accountability has been affected.
2.18 Individual and organised criminality and the risk of harm to Scottish citizens, has also developed across national and international boundaries, exploiting new technology in sophisticated and varied ways. As international and cross-border crime becomes increasingly complex and sophisticated, so our police service needs to keep pace, developing and sustaining flexibility and a wider range of skills than has been required even in the recent past.
2.19 The need for improved specialist and expert policing is not limited to the geographical spread of related criminality. The domestic need for specialist policing may not be as visible as the main business of policing, conducted in, for and with local communities. It is however still required to address increasing complex and sophisticated challenges, as the following examples illustrate:
- raised public and political expectations, e.g. around child protection and monitoring sex offenders;
- the increased threat and complexity of some crime, e.g. serious fraud, armed criminals, kidnap and extortion, the infiltration of police organisations by organised crime;
- heightened sophistication and cost of technical aids to investigation, e.g. in forensic science, forensic accounting and surveillance techniques;
- new techniques in dealing with large-scale disorder; and
- additional support to other services dealing with threats such as pandemic disease, food contamination and the effects of severe weather.
2.20 Beyond these global events and new policing challenges, this review occurs at a time of significant political change for Scotland. The new administration in the Scottish Government has introduced five Strategic Objectives and 15 National Outcomes designed to achieve an overall focus for government and public services on creating a 'more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish through increasing sustainable economic growth'. 3 The police service in Scotland is an essential player in achieving that purpose.
2.21 In order to achieve these objectives, the Scottish Government signed a Concordat with local government that involves each local authority agreeing a Single Outcome Agreement ( SOA) with the Scottish Government. SOAs are intended to outline how each community planning partnership is working towards achievement of the 15 National Outcomes. Chief constables and police authorities have a statutory duty to participate in community planning and should therefore be an integral part of the process. From 2009, SOAs will be agreed between the Scottish Government and local community planning partnerships ( CPPs), rather than with only local authorities themselves.
2.22 Police services in Scotland are facing unprecedented levels of change in demand and expectation. These arise both from a local perspective (the impact of SOAs) and from a national and international perspective (through, for example, the increasing sophistication of global crime and increase in terrorism).
2.23 There is a need to balance locally visible partnership policing, which should remain the cornerstone of policing activity with the policing of less visible, low probability/high impact crimes and incidents, which require more specialist resources.
2.24 This review is concerned with how the significant achievements and current efforts of our police service in Scotland can be supported, to ensure that it can continue to deliver effective policing across this range of demand given available resources.
2.25 Above all else, whilst not intended to represent a solution, this review is an opportunity. It is a focal point for establishing appropriate workstreams and a catalyst for renewed effort.