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Police Reform

Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012

The Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012 changed the policing landscape in Scotland, bringing together eight police forces (Central Scotland Police, Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary, Fife Constabulary, Grampian Police, Lothian and Borders Police, Northern Constabulary, Strathclyde Police and Tayside Police), the Scottish Police Services Authority and the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency into a single Police Service of Scotland - named Police Scotland - from 1 April 2013.

The origins of Police Reform

Examination of the case for reforming our police services began with the publication of the report of the Independent Review of Policing by Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary for Scotland, Paddy Tomkins, in 2009 under the auspices of the Scottish Policing Board. In 2010 the police service began examining options for maintaining an effective frontline service with reduced funding as a result of the worsening prospects for public expenditure. The Sustainable Policing Team, of police officers and staff supported by Scottish Government officials, prepared a report on the options.

Consultation on Police Reform

The first police reform consultation “A Consultation on the Future of Policing in Scotland” was launched on 10 February 2011. The first consultation sought views on how to protect and improve the police service, including ways to create better partnership working with other organisations, and on future structural options for the police service. An analysis report of this consultation was published on 21 June 2011.

After a series of consultation events and substantive engagement with key stakeholders on the case for police reform in the summer of 2011, on 8 September 2011 the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Kenny MacAskill, announced in Parliament the Scottish Government’s intention to legislate for a single police service.

Along with this announcement a consultation paper – “Keeping Scotland Safe and Strong: A Consultation on Reforming Police and Fire and Rescue Services in Scotland” was published, setting out the Scottish Government’s proposals for how best to establish the single police and fire and rescue services and inviting comments to help shape the final proposals and legislation. This consultation received 145 written responses consultation responses and a consultation analysis report was published on 10 February 2012.

The Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Bill 2011 was formally introduced in Parliament on 12 January 2012 by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, and became an Act in August 2012. The Bill and its details of its passage through Parliament are available on the Scottish Parliament website.

• The Bill Equality Impact Assessment;
• The Bill Business Regulatory Impact Assessment;

On 21 February 2012, the Justice Secretary announced that the Police Service of Scotland would become operational on 1 April 2013.

Links to the Act and supporting secondary legislation can be found on the legislation page.

For Previous Legislation The Police (Scotland) act 1967:


For further information please contact:

Police Division
Scottish Government
Floor 1WR
St Andrew's House
Regent Road