Developing local policing and accountability within an integrated national service was the main focus at the SPA Board meeting held in Dunkeld on Wednesday 24 October.
The Authority and observers heard a range of inputs including from recently-appointed Deputy Chief Constable Will Kerr who has leadership responsibility for local policing across the service, Chief Superintendent Andrew Todd, the local Divisional Commander for the Tayside area, and Councillor Peter Barratt who is the police scrutiny convener for Perth and Kinross Council.
Some of the main themes and issues raised during the discussion included:
- How to further develop tailored local services while balancing the need to maintain minimum standards and equity of access for specialist services;
- Better articulating the integrated nature of Police Scotland’s local and nationally-brigaded services and help communities and their representatives understand how they combine to keep communities safe;
- The increasingly complex range of non-crime demands on policing including around mental health and vulnerability, and the impact of responding to those needs at a community level;
- The operating models, behaviours and culture required to empower local decision-making within the police workforce that is as close as possible to local need;
- How to develop more local scrutiny and engagement that can assess, and shape, the increasingly integrated picture of policing in a national service.
To complement the Board discussion, Authority members had the opportunity to gain valuable insights from a range of local engagements held in advance of the meeting, including with the senior management team of Perth and Kinross Council, a number of elected representatives from across the region, and directly with a range of community members from towns and villages in Perthshire.
SPA Chair Susan Deacon committed to bringing a calendar of SPA Board and Committee meetings for 2019 to the November Board meeting. It is the intention to ensure that future Board meetings take place in a range of community settings across the country and that, routinely, on the day prior to the Board meeting, members take part in a mix of policing, local authority and community engagement activities within each locality.
The detailed outputs of the October discussion on local policing and accountability will now be taken forward in a number of ways:
- To further inform and underpin collaborative joint-working initiatives already underway between SPA, Police Scotland, CoSLA and SoLACE;
- Informing the first meeting in November of a new Partnership Forum bringing together the leaders of the Authority and Police Scotland with the staff associations and unions representing the policing workforce;
- With the Chair giving consideration of how she engages other public service leaders to bring renewed focus to the issue of policing and non-crime demand, and;
- Through further joint strategic development work between the Authority’s Board and Police Scotland senior leadership team in the new year.
To view the discussion again, visit the following link at the SPA's dedicated livestream channel: https://livestream.com/SPA/Dunkeld/videos/182413083
To read the papers which informed this discussion, visit: Police Scotland paper on Local Policing and Accountability and SPA Contextual Note on Local Policing and Accountability