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The Scottish Police Authority (SPA) was established under the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012 to maintain policing, promote policing principles and continuous improvement of policing, and to hold the Chief Constable to account.

It holds both the Chief Constable to account for the policing of Scotland, and the Chief Executive of the SPA to account for its role as employer of staff and the delivery of services to the board and policing.

From 1 April 2013, the Chief Executive is also responsible for the management of Forensic Services in Scotland.