Scotland needs an increasingly resilient, flexible, responsive and locally-focused police service to help keep communities safe.
This is the message at the heart of the new Strategic Police Priorities set by the Scottish Government, which also recognise the need to tackle new and developing threats to the public, including cybercrime.
Localism, inclusion, prevention, responsiveness, collaborative working, accountability and adaptability are the seven themes that will inform policing priorities in Scotland in the years to come.
Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson launched the priorities in West Lothian with Chief Constable Phil Gormley, Chair of the Scottish Police Authority Andrew Flanagan and COSLA’s Community Wellbeing Spokesperson, Councillor Harry McGuigan.
Mr Matheson said: “With recorded crime in Scotland at a 42 year low, I am confident that policing in Scotland is on the right track. We have a world class police system in Scotland, supported by a hugely dedicated and professional workforce who work each and every day to secure the safety and wellbeing of people and communities across the country.
“I believe that the new Strategic Police Priorities, developed following extensive consultation with people from across Scotland and key partners, will be key to shaping the future of policing in this country and will ensure Police Scotland remain a progressive and forward-looking service.”
Andrew Flanagan, Chair of the Scottish Police Authority, said: “In line with the new Strategic Police Priorities published today, the SPA have initiated work which will deliver a clear long-term vision and strategy for policing now and over the next 10 years. It will have a strong focus on the quality of service that Scotland needs from its policing, how we develop new capabilities, and deliver improved benefits for our communities.
“Through that we are committed to ensuring that the police have a workforce which has the skills and capability to meet the changing demands they face, within a shared direction and purpose for the single service that unites police professional and citizen alike.”
Chief Constable Phil Gormley added: “We welcome the publication of these strategic priorities for policing as we move forward with the transformation of the service in Scotland. Policing in Scotland, which is built on a really solid foundation and traditions that are the envy of many, needs to be locally relevant and have the confidence of our communities.
“We also need to ensure that the protection communities require to tackle emerging threats and risks is available where and when required. The majority of what officers and staff deal with on a daily basis, around the clock, every day of the year relates to calls for service - people calling us at a time of crisis and need and we need to make sure we respond by having the strategic priorities set out today at the heart of what we do and how we do it.”
Cllr McGuigan said: “The priorities set out by the Scottish Government are to be welcomed by all and COSLA is particularly pleased to see the clear emphasis on localism. It also gives us great encouragement to know that Police Scotland’s work will incorporate prevention, collaborative working and accountability.
“The police do not simply respond to crime, they are also there to help prevent crime and keep our communities safe along with other partners at a local level. The Strategic Police Priorities reflect that message and set a solid foundation for Police Scotland to continue their good work within our communities.”